I miss my friends. Some have gone on past the veil into the hereafter, some have drifted away and are lost in the history of our world. Some I have left behind as our paths diverged and our interests changed. Along the way new friends have merged into my life, and then, as time goes on, drift away leaving memories, good and bad, that live in the recesses of my heart and mind. All of this is normal in the way we live our lives today. Most of us live in one place growing up and never leave, some leave, and return. Some leave and never come back, and even more of us grew up living the vagabond life of moving often due to our parent’s assignments or jobs. It is what it is. And it made each of us who we are.
Still, I miss my friends.
Lately, the friends I think of most are those who came into my life when I was a newly married girl of 16 who moved to a place called California with my 19 year old husband. All of those friends were young, in high school, crazy fun, and as different from me as any people could get and still be American kids. I envied their carefree, happiness. I also didn’t understand their laid back attitude about nearly everything. Oh, I know, teenagers are filled with angst and stress, hormone imbalances, and worries about everything from test scores to love. But, these kids, always laughing, always avoiding the serious issues and discussions, at least with me, seemed to be so gifted, beautiful, happy. I didn’t understand how they could plan for the future without thinking ahead.
I was raised to understand that working hard, was the priority we faced if we wanted to make something of ourselves. Focus on scholastics, focus on reputation, focus on learning skills, and not to worry about dating, silliness. Life was too serious not to worry. Oh, I rebelled against that. I ran away and married the love of my life at the tender age of 16. Not so much to escape as to hold on to the one man I would ever love.
And I equally rebelled, albeit quietly, against the friends who had it so easy and took everything for granted. I knew they would be in for a very difficult transition from carefree teenager to adult. Whereas I had been training for adulthood my whole life, and knew how hard it was to be responsible, to plan for the future, to prepare for life, they were kids. The gap between us was large, but something I could bridge. Envy or not, I knew deep inside they would never really understand me. Not really.
Now here we are, most of us into our sixth decade, or close enough to shake hands with it, and the gap between us is vast, so vast that I often wonder if they live on a different planet rather than still in the same places in California.
During the ensuing years, we gave life to two boys, and laid one of them to eternal rest, raised one granddaughter, welcomed and love five more plus two great grandchildren. We literally lived all over the world, and the United States. The 16 year old from Oklahoma learned a lot about how truly strange the people of the world are compared to even those in California. I embraced it, taking all I could learn and bringing it into my world. As I went from place to place, culture to culture, I learned to love people of all kinds. I may not always agree with them, especially when it comes to governments, but I loved the people and more than one became more like family than friends.
Meanwhile, my friends stayed in California for the most part. And after all these years, most of them are still like they were as teenagers, only more responsible adults and less carefree. They do many of the same things, and most of all, they think just like they always did. As brilliant as they are, -and they are all talented, intelligent, amazing people – they still think just like they always did about things that are important. And, other than two I can think of, they have all become hard core leftists. Not as far as ANTIFA and their idiocy, but liberal in the most liberal meaning. They all say the same things, think the same things, and believe the same things. It is maddening, because I can’t have a conversation of any sort of importance with them without being blasted with anger, frustration, and downright hatred. So, I miss my friends.
Once, the Mr. and I had a party at our house. It was filled to the brim with all of our friends and their friends, laughing, dancing, talking, and, yes drinking. (Although no one went home drunk, house rules. Drink too much, stay the night.) I have a photo of a crowd of us piled on our bed, everyone smiling into the camera. I love that photograph. Arms looped over shoulders, leaning close to one another, it is easy to see the caring, the love between them. As I look at it today, I only feel sad, and distant from that group of kids. I miss them. But they simply aren’t interested in accepting someone as different as I am into that circle. I guess some of them never really did.
Today, of all of those friends in that photo, only one has minimal contact with me. And it is minimal because, as I have grown, changed, and become confident in myself and abilities, I have also become fearless in stating my thoughts and ideas, and beliefs. And my perception of the world is the polar opposite of my friends. Where I used to allow them to run over me and intimidate me with their ideals, I now stand my ground and challenge them. And it infuriates them. In some way they feel I am a threat or a challenge to their way of life or purpose. I honestly do not understand.
I do not understand why a difference of opinions or ideas means people can’t still love each other. I do not see how using facts, logic, history, makes someone a horrid person. I equally do not see how emotion and anger can make a point that is identifiable beyond that one person. When I argue an issue, I don’t get angry, I am truly trying to understand and to learn while still standing up for myself and my point of view. I guess self control is seen as lack of passion.
But, I still miss those friends who were so much a part of my life when I was in the midst of a life changing time. I look at that photograph and have memories, good and bad, that live in the recesses of my mind and heart. So here is to all of you, where ever you may be, what ever you are doing. Thanks for the memories, Blessings Be to one and all, and may you find peace within, and joy in life. With love, as always.