Old friends are great. I love my old friends. In fact, some of my best friends are old friends. It’s great: we have a shared history replete with awesome, gruesome, hysterical, heartbreaking, unforgettable and ridiculous experiences. I met some when we were kids walking to elementary school (uphill both ways), or at Mass Ski Club when our parents dropped us off at the Howard Johnson’s at 5 a.m. and collected us at 7 at night. Or in high school while we were hanging out in the smoking lounge (not all of us smoking…but it was the 80s) or in college somewhere on Caroline Street in Saratoga, most likely with a few LI Iced Teas and chili dogs on board. Others I formed an immediate kinship with as a young parent trying to navigate, negotiate and tolerate toddlers who would go on to spend the next twelve years going through school, complete with the myriad issues that arose on the daily. Or my work friends who, back in the day, I spent more time with than anyone. Many of those people are now CVS/Marshall’s pals; you know, the folks you bump into after only having seen them on Facebook for months, maybe years, but wind up having a perfectly wonderful chat together in the store aisle – often for nearly an hour. Time has passed, but your friendship has, albeit in a different incarnation, survived the test of time.
New friends, however, are pretty spectacular in their own right. When you are a full-fledged adult and make a new acquaintance you are in an enviable position: you can pick and choose with whom you would like to embark on the friendship road. Your meetings are more likely to be in places you have chosen as opposed to the spots which you frequent out of necessity…soccer games in the pouring rain, anybody? And. It.Is.Awesome.
Of note, and this is important: I cherish all of my old friends. Without them, I would never have been able to grow from point A to point B. I most assuredly would have crumbled under the pressure of attempting (sometimes in vain) to be a successful daughter, partner, mother, sister, friend and employee. Had they not been old friends, just the time I would be forced to spend just to bring them up to speed and fill them in on all the players and backstories would be too arduous for me. My old friends have, and will continue to be, my most precious commodity.
I’m lucky in that lately I have made some truly wonderful friends. Women I never would have met had my marital status, living and work situations remained intact and stable as they had been since the 90s. I’ve met them at the gym, at synagogue, at the supermarket, through mutual friends and by Googling: “transgender” in my town. They are married, divorced, parents, empty-nesters, widows, employed and unemployed. Some have two living parents, others are not as fortunate. There are locals, transplants and returning to their roots gals all mixed in. So, too, are they tall, short, skinny (the bitch), dying their gray or letting it go. Women with kids in preschool, college and everything in between and beyond. They are grandmothers (young, smoking hot grandmothers, but grandmothers nonetheless). They have never married, are happily married, not so happily married, divorced. One was even just starting to flex her, “I am woman hear me roar” strength in leaving her husband only to suddenly find herself a widow instead. And they all rock.
Making new girlfriends at this age is to be celebrated. The occasions under which you meet are different – they are more full of choice and less a matter of circumstance. You each bring to the table your own history, expectations, learned-the-hard-way experiences and are better in tune to the “conditions” under which you are willing, at your advanced age, to engage in an open and honest relationship. It’s kinda like dating without the fear, anticipation, horror and angst at potentially getting naked.
Admittedly, my repository for new blood (as it were) came easy. I am in a new community, with a new partner, a new home and, hopefully sometime soon, a new job. I arrived with my abundance of baggage (physical and emotional) and am, with open arms and an open heart, building a new circle of women. These women have, in the few years that I have been migrating this way, made it clear that I’m going to be well taken care of.
I will never stop loving, appreciating and depending upon my old friends. You know who you are. I am enormously grateful to my new bitches, too. Julie, Becky, Nancy, Rachel, Jill and Sue, not to mention my beautiful, in every sense of the word, new mother- and sister-in law, Susy and Fannie, respectively.
We all need to enjoy and embrace the process of life. One moment you can be sitting back thinking, “I got this” and the very next, all hell breaks loose. It can and will happen on a dime. There are friends for a reason, friends for a season and friends for a lifetime. Enjoy every single one of them, every day, beautiful ladies.