I've been thinking a lot lately about friendship and particularly about how lucky I am to have close friendships as an adult. When I was a kid, growing up on Army bases from hither to yon, friendship was a slippery thing, kids coming and going all the time, and us without the internet to make staying close as easy done as said.
My best friends in high school and I were thick as thieves, the sort of intimacy that can only be shared in the adolescent haze of hormones and melodrama. Everything seems so important; the people at your side seem irreplaceable, your secrets seem earth-shattering, your dreams novel.
My college friends were a motley crew: drinking buddies; frat party girlfriends; the rowdy bunch who shared my freshman dorm (I suppose each of these groups boils down to drinking buddies...so less motley than I might imagine, though the "kids" I met shortly after college remain some of my favorite people on this earth).
But it's really been in the past few years that I've realized that it's the friends I have now -- not the friends I had when I was 8 or 15 or even 20 -- who are likely to be my real BFF's: the people who came to the hospital to meet S when she was born are the same people likely to be at my side if there's a #2 or if, God forbid, I'm in the hospital for another reason. The girlfriends I drink margaritas with and really get into it about our real plans (the more pragmatic versions of our high school dreams) are the same people who are likely to talk me through career changes and challenges. The former neighbor with whom I can talk on the phone for hours and still miss enough to schedule an immediate visit (despite the plan ride) is the same person I'll be making the guest bed for in 30 years.
Adult friendships definitely take commitment -- you have to make plans, you have to show up. You have to call or email on a regular basis. You have to remember birthdays and anniversaries and whose sister moved where and for what. But you're easily forgiven for forgetting any of these things, and the ex-boyfriends/secret crushes/dramatic pasts that were so critical to adolescent friendships become a nonissue as a grown-up. I simply don't need to know all the details of my friends' pasts. I know them now, and I love them now, regardless of where (or who) they've been.
There's a book I've been hearing about recently -- MWF Seeking BFF -- that has me wondering if I'm unique among the majority of adults. Do other people have the kind of phenomenal, show-up-to-clean-your-kitchen-when-there's-a-death-in-the-family friends that I have?
I hope they do -- I hope everyone does -- because the truth is that my life, however complete it is with my little family, is enriched, happier, and just more fun with my friends all in it.
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