Make New Friends, But Keep the Old

Man, I’ve been MIA. My last post was about the snowshoe race, which seems like a lifetime ago. I came down with a nasty upper respiratory infection just after stepping up my work schedule a bit (coincidence? probably not) a few weeks ago, so for a few weeks, I wasn’t doing much running. Or much of anything worth writing about, for that matter.

But I DID do something worth writing about in mid-March! On March 13, I and 10 of my college friends took our Every-5-Year-Girls-Trip; this time, to Punta Cana. And what a trip it was. Five days of sun, fun & relaxation. Bliss. We have all been friends for over 25 years, and had a fabulous time reminiscing about old memories and making new ones.

My wonderful, amazing BC Friends!

My wonderful, amazing BC Friends!

It got me thinking about how important old friendships are. ALL friendships are important, of course, and there is always room for a new, dear friend. But there is something about someone who has known you – and loved you – through all the stages of your life that is really, really special. They knew you before you were someone’s wife, mother, boss, or employee. Before you had a mortgage and other obligations. Heck, before you really had any obligations. They knew the college boyfriend you didn’t marry, and you know the one they did. They remember that you like to run alone (yes, Karen, I still do). You remember that they like to run in groups so they can talk (sorry, Karen. No can do.) You remember their parent who has passed away, and no explanations are needed. You were there. You remember.

Being with those people from way back when restores your spirit in special way. You can access – for a little while, at least – that person you used to be. Feel young again. Unfettered. Open to all possibilities. I came back from my trip feeling 10 years younger.

The best is when you realize, as I did on our trip, that you still really like all of your longtime friends – not just who they were when you met them, but also who they are now. They have grown from kids you like to adults you like, and you know that if you got a “do-over,” you would choose them again as friends, in a heartbeat. Sure, we have our differences. Some like cervezas. Some prefer mojitos. Others lean toward margaritas. Still, we worked through our differing opinions like the adults that we are and at least settled on one common bond: we all like a good cocktail. And to laugh.

My takeaway from the trip is this – go to the reunion. Don’t even wait the five years for the next official one – make your own reunion. My BC crew is already planning a summer get-together, at least for the members of the group that live close enough to meet up. Keep in touch with longtime friends, even when you are busy. Especially when you are busy. One great thing about old friends is that you know they will be there for you in a time of crisis, but don’t wait for a crisis to see them. Make happy memories, too. It will round out the friendship and keep you growing together. It’s important to laugh with friends, too.

Colby and I (20+ years and counting!) have a group of longtime friends – high school friends for her; I met them all in my early 20’s – that gets together for lunch at least 4 times per year. We hope to see each other in between lunches, too, but at least we know that we will have our periodic lunches to reconnect when things are crazy. Everyone treats them as sacred, many hoops are jumped through so that we can all make it, and they are some of my favorite afternoons of the year. In fact, this Saturday is our next lunch (and in true, trying-to-coordinate-five-schedules fashion, our “lunch’ has been moved to 5 PM to accommodate some soccer tournaments). I’m already counting the days.

The Ladies Who Lunch.

The Ladies Who Lunch (minus Sandy, who couldn’t make it this time).

Keeping up with people from your past doesn’t just bring you together with old friends – it brings you together with the old you, which is a gift that only an old friend can give. And that is worth every ticket purchased, every sitter hired, every schedule rearranged, every mile traveled, to be with them.

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16 thoughts on “Make New Friends, But Keep the Old

  1. Great advice. It’s so important to make the effort and keep in touch with high school and college friends! Also, glad to hear you’re feeling better!

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