You know those little moments from your childhood? You know, the ones that at the time had little to no significance in your personal development, but for some reason have always stuck with you?
Well one of mine came back to me today. I was in my second grade music class, a tiny classroom with no more than 30 kids, sitting in rows looking at our thick, heavy music books. One of the songs was a musical version of the old phrase, “Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver, the other gold,” sung in rounds. At the time the song got on my nerves (I’m still not sure why), but here I am 15 years later, with this same simple little song stuck in my head. This time, though, I realize it actually has some meaning.
When I was in my last semester of getting my bachelor’s degree, a slight feeling of tension arose among my friends and me. When we actually got the chance to hang out, it didn’t feel right. There was some odd level of stress and awkwardness.
It’s not like any of my friends did something wrong or harmful. It was just that each of us happened to be at a crossroads all about the same time, and each of us had our own personal stress distracting us from enjoying each other’s company. And being at those crossroads made us lose touch with each other for the sake of pulling our own personal lives together.
Recently, when I received an invitation to an old high school friend’s wedding, I had a distressing epiphany. I am a very sociable person, and have been blessed with a expansive circle of friends. Through high school, college and even the “real” world, I have made connections to more people than I’d ever imagined. In that brief moment of realization, I grew overwhelmed knowing how many people I consider friends but haven’t talked to in years.
Since I’ve become a full-fledged adult, and have had the opportunity to sort out my thoughts and goals since graduation, I realize now that this is normal. We all do simply what we have to do, even if that means sacrificing quality time with friends. Friends will move away, get married, have kids, do grown up things. There is no reason to be disliked for it, it is simply the nature of being grown up.
Even if I haven’t spoken to someone in years, it doesn’t mean I’m not going to their wedding. It doesn’t even mean that we aren’t friends. There’s no point in spending our waking hours concerned whether we’re still friends, without probable cause for those thoughts. It’s the little moments we often overlook; the exchanging of Pokemon cards on the school bus, the shaving cream fight, the 3am coffee runs, the timeless moments we can still laugh about today, that have solidified us as friends.
So in those rare moments when my friends and I do have the time to catch up, we are genuinely able to enjoy each other’s company. We are able to relive old memories and hopefully make some new ones as well. It’s as if we’d just seen each other. And it’s an amazing feeling, one that even being Facebook “friends” could never conjure.
So as the saying goes, “Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver, the other gold.” It doesn’t matter who they are, where you met or how long it’s been since you’ve talked. It doesn’t even matter if they’re silver or gold; either way, those friendships will remain precious.