Yesterday, my best friend in the whole world – was fifty. This seems incredibly odd, as it feels like only weeks since we were haring around the Worcestershire countryside in a bashed up old mini, tasting freedom in the way that only eighteen year olds do. Now she’s a high flyer in Hong Kong and I’m a respectable middle-aged mother, living in the Home Counties. But although we might present different images now to the outside world, I’m sure that the real us, is still very much like those eighteen year olds.
Despite the fact that she’s lived on the other side of the world for the last sixteen years and I’ve only seen her a handful of times in that period, there is no doubt in my mind, nor I believe in hers, that we would always ‘be there’ for each other. We do not need to be in constant touch, we can live our own separate lives, safe in the knowledge that we’re tied to each other by the strongest bonds of friendship.
Lately I’ve been thinking about those bonds. It seems to me, that at the core, is the certain knowledge, that we share an unconditional love. We’ve both done the most ridiculously daft things, in our time, and probably will carry on doing so, but whatever happens, we can rely on each other for love and support.
I have to say that in addition to My Best Friend, I am also blessed with many other friends, who I’ve met and ‘clicked’ with over the years. I hadn’t really appreciated how many people I would genuinely call friends until recently, when, for a completely unrelated reason, I read a book suggesting that we list our contacts – including friends.
As I wrote the list, I realised how lucky I am, but also felt incredibly guilty, because I am so often the sort of person, who is happy to respond to the needs of a friend, but rarely makes the first move.
As I step into the second half of my life (I do intend to be at least 100!), I’ve decided to cherish those friendships with more care than I have until now. More and more of my friends are losing their close family, and looking to their friends for support – perhaps that’s part of aging and part of being human. But I can see now very clearly that as we all get older, it’s those relationships that will be the core of our support and happiness.
In today’s difficult climate, that’s one investment worth making.