The other day was one of my best friend’s birthdays. I sent her the usual Facebook and text messages wishing her well but also gave her a call to see if she had time in her very busy schedule to have lunch-either that day or within the week. Years ago, this would have been a given and not a problem as we were always able to connect, at worst, monthly. Now, we are both very busy, live in different cities, have different social circles, and have different interests so it has been much harder to make time and connect. Once we do, however, we have a long catch up and are, at least, back on track.
I was delighted when she mentioned she had time on her special day for me. I packed up a nice bottle of wine I had as a token for her. We have never been the gift exchanging type as we both feel spending some quality time together is much better. I then hurried over the restaurant of her choice where I treated her out and we caught up. We have always been very different people with different interests and it has been interesting to see, since a traumatic breakup she had several years ago, her growth and change in priorities. I am certain she probably also has noticed huge changes in me-hopefully not bad ones! Lately, she is very focused on finding the right career path or meaningful work for herself. I spent most of the lunch listening. I, personally, never make too many long term plans as I believe you have to see what comes up across your path and seize these spontaneous opportunities. I feel my whole life has been jumping from one unexpected stepping stone to the next-and it has worked for me! It was a chilly day but we spent several warm hours in a cozy restaurant catching up. A perfect afternoon.
Also, several weeks ago, my other best friend was in town from abroad for just a few days. She had all kinds of things to take care of so we could only squeeze in a breakfast with our spouses and a quick phone chat. She is horrible at keeping in touch with when out of town.This is another changing friendship. In this case, her marriage has had a large impact on her-and her ability to maintain friendships. Having known this friend since we were 13, it is a bit difficult to see how her life is unfolding. She is going through quite a bit and seems to have a difficult traditional marriage that I feel she was pressured to go through with and pressured to stay in due to the stigma of divorce in her family/culture. She has confided in me a little bit but then has shut down as many traditional marriages involve all kinds of complicated family issues. It is frustrating but ultimately all I can do is be available and supportive while she sorts out what sort of life she wants.
I definitely miss the times when I could see all (not just these two) my gal pals more often and we had more to connect around when we were all single and starting out in life. However, now, some are married and things have changed, some have remained single and things have changed, some have had children and things have definitely changed, and others have had all kinds of other things happen and things have changed. However, despite all these changes and the years slipping by, it is great to see that when we do get together, most of the time, we still can connect, catch up, and carry on as friends as there are some core things that hold us together in a strong bond.