We looked like a bunch of middle-aged geezers, heading out to the local park. Fair enough—that’s what we are. As college roommates and best friends in the mid-70’s, we’ve been around for quite a while. For the most part, while we’ve kept in touch somewhat, we hadn’t seen one another in ages. Pete and I live in Colorado, Dave lives in Portland, and Corinne and Mike are an hour apart near Seattle. And while we had sworn that we’d always be friends, life has a way of distracting you from your best intentions.
I had been anticipating this reunion for weeks, as soon as I found out I’d be accompanying my sweetie on his business trip to Portland. Now, at last, we had all converged on Corinne’s house for the weekend, and here we were—all together again.
Older and wiser, perhaps with some gray hairs or a bit wider around the waist (at least in my case), we had changed in many ways. I wondered if we’d even have anything much to say to one another, once we had exhausted all the “remember when” stories.
I needn’t have worried. We hugged each other, started talking all at the same time, and didn’t stop all evening. There was so much to catch up on—how jobs were going, what our current interests were, updates on spouses and children, trials and successes to recount. Yes, we’d all changed in many ways, hopefully improving with time. But what was really amazing to me was how quickly we reconnected.
Being with my friends felt like pulling on an old pair of perfectly-fitting jeans. Comfortable. Relaxing. Just right.
I have lots of newer friends, some I’ve known for quite a while, others for only a few years yet. I treasure them greatly. But there is something about still being friends with people we have known all our adult lives. We knew one another when we were young, skinny and wrinkle-free. We stuck with each other in our immaturity, through poor decisions, disastrous relationships, and struggles of faith. It’s way too late to try and impress each other. It’s really nice knowing we don’t have to try.
In our instant society, we tend to value “new and improved” over “tried-and-true.” Our relationships are temporary; our friends are replaceable. When I was in my 20s, I lacked the perspective to value faithfulness and loyalty. Now that I’m a graying, plumper, older-but-wiser middle-aged geezer, I find that family and friends are my most precious possessions.
As the weekend ended and we headed our separate ways, we vowed to get together more often in the future. I hope life doesn’t distract us again!
Top: Pete (on top), Mike (left) and Dave in 1977.
Middle: Mike and me in 1978, hiking on Mt. Rainier.
Bottom: Corinne and Pete in 1978, on a ferry to Orcas Island, in Puget Sound.