AGES AND STAGES
It's important to be able to let seasonal friendships run their course and let them fade away with little or no regret because they were never meant to last. It's the deeper friendships that we need to nurture and invest in. These are friends we encounter along the way where there is that little extra spark and connection - a meeting of the minds, or a similarity in our world view, or a soul connection.
It brings real joy in my life to have those friendships that have come into their own and grown stronger over the years. There aren't dozens of them, probably not more than a handful - but they are worth their weight in gold. I have a friend I see every week, one I see every month, another every few months and still more that I catch up with when we can both manage it. They are all different women who impact on my life in different ways, but they all make me feel better for having spent time with them.
I am so grateful that I have slowly gained those close friends over the years who make my life a little better and brighter. I'm not the most social person in the world anymore - as time goes by I seem to find large groups (especially large groups of women) a little intimidating. I feel bombarded in all directions from too much noise and too many half finished conversations. I seem to have lost the desire for parties or women's events - they just seem like too much hard work.
The friends I have, fill my life in a way that social activities might have in the past.These friends are women who have experienced ups and downs in their lives too, they have have gone through sickness, family upheavals, issues with their children, and many other little (and not so little) hiccups along life's journey. They have weathered the storms, grown stronger and wiser and can share on a deeper and more "real" level.
I love it when we cackle away over some silly anecdote, or enjoy looking at some photos from a newly married family member (while still remembering that I don't need to see all 750 pictures!). I also like it when we have those moments when we are honest about how we are going, or when we share the hurts that the other friend happens to be feeling at a particular time. With maturity comes the understanding that you can't fix everything, you can't just brush it under the table and pretend it isn't happening, you can't minimize it and gloss over it......no, sometimes you just need a friend by your side who understands, and I am so glad I have a few of those in my life. They are truly a blessing to me.
There are friendships that finish in a less than satisfactory way. I wrote a post a while back on "ghosting" a friend of mine - her lack of loyalty was too much for me and I couldn't justify continuing the friendship, but I didn't want to cause a scene - her season in my life was finished and it was easier to quietly fade away than to make an issue of it. Fortunately this is a rarity and seasonal friendships tend to fade away without a conscious decision on either person's part - it's like letting nature take its course really.
Work friendships can be a bit like this too - you connect and interact daily, sometimes for years, but once the job is finished or you change career paths, the commonality fades and the friendship dwindles. Occasionally, if there is more than work interests that you share, you can build a deeper relationship, but this seems to be the exception to the rule in my case.
So, with mid-life comes the celebration of true friendships - I will remember to tell these friends how much I value them. I will remember to give back into the friendships as well as receiving so much from them. I will remember that these friends are a true gift to me at this stage of my life and I will make sure that I always have time for them.
I'm hoping I'll be celebrating these friendships still when I'm having my 90th birthday party - I hope we're all still kicking up our heels (and not pushing up daisies) and we can reminisce about all the water under our bridges and how blessed we have been to know each other and share life's journey together.