I’ve moved around a lot in my life. When I was a child, I had no choice. My parents moved from England to Canada, Canada to Michigan and Michigan to California before I was 11-years-old. Friends don’t stick through that kind of mileage. It’s not like children can navigate oceans and distant states to get to you even if time didn’t erase memories from young minds.
As an adult I shed jobs, boyfriends and locations frequently. When I did attempt to stay in touch with former co-workers, our conversations usually went something like this “Hi ______” “This is Barbara” “I used to work there two months ago.” We had lunch together a few times, and we had a conversation at the Xerox machine about Stan, the annoying guy who smells like garlic and flosses his teeth at his desk.” Revolving jobs usually meant revolving friendships, which never went very deep…I was definitely not the girl who had lived in the same house since she was a baby with neighbors whose roots went as deep as that ancient oak tree with the tire swing attached to its solid base.
I have had one friend for a million years. Her name is Donna, and we met at Sun Valley Jr. High when she was 13, and I was 14. We bonded over the fact that we both hated P.E. and sat in the bleachers, feining cramps and asthma attacks in order to get out of doing jumping jacks whenever we could get away with it. Her family had moved around a lot too, so we relished finally having a close friend we could depend on. Alas, about a year later, Donna’s family moved to Phoenix, then Reno and finally Las Vegas, where she remains to this day. We did visit each other, but that day to day closeness we had cultivated could no longer flourish with all those miles between us. I’m just grateful that we remain friends, mostly through telephone contact, till this day.
It does get harder to make good friends as you get older, especially once you’ve retired. Even if you are intentional about trying new things and putting yourself out there, it’s not the same thing as sharing a neighborhood or a dorm room. I guess I became resigned, but here’s the miracle…lately God has been dropping new people with similiar passions, dreams and goals into my life. Some of them are young, and some of them are not. They come in many shapes, sizes and ethnicities, which makes it all the more fabulous. They are at different stages of life, but each one brings a different fragrance to the garden.
I am thankful for this beautiful bouquet of ladies. I hope to get to know each one of them better…to learn from them and to teach them what I have learned over the years. One day I will write about each one of them individually, because they each have a worthy story to tell.