“If you want to go fast go alone, if you want to go far go together” African proverb
As we start the New Year I find myself thinking about relationships; not family or romantic relationships, but the other sort – the bonds you make with your fellow man.
My father, who is eighty-two this year would tell you that he is a loner but he keeps in touch with more high school friends now than I think I ever had, and it fascinates me that he can claim he has known a person for most of their life.
I on the other hand struggle to recall the name of anyone from my kindergarten class and have not kept in touch with anyone from high school. Admittedly, there is a website where I could look to see how some of these people are doing, but I actually prefer to remember them as they were – loud, funny, self-confident and seemingly invincible.
Is that wrong?
I don’t know. There was one girl I was extremely close to, but she passed away some years ago under tragic circumstances and I just don’t think anyone else from that part of my life could ever take her place; she was the loudest and most outrageous of them all and ten years later I still laugh to myself when I think of the time she spray painted her hair silver for Carnival in Antigua. Man – what was she thinking???
It took me a long time to get over a loss like that – she was the only person I ever met that I could tell absolutely anything to without fear of judgment because she was so much wilder than I was that there was absolutely nothing I could ever do or say that would shock her.
What she saw in me – I haven’t the faintest clue. But we were the best of friends just the same and I journeyed thousands of miles to visit her any time I could after she moved back to her homeland.
In the years since her passing, I have lived several different places and had lots of friends. I have learned to appreciate the new people who show up in my life and tried to see the good in others even when I don’t like what they teach me about myself. I have also learned to wish them well when they suddenly decide to embark on an adventure or new chapter in their life. I have even been blessed to see a couple of my fast friends come back into my life after long absences. (It is as interesting to discover how they have changed as it is to play “do you remember when”).
My greatest discovery is that my dog makes a great travelling companion – he loves the car, never says “oh not the beach again”, never hogs the remote and thinks that absolutely anywhere is a great place for a nap. Admittedly, he is not my long lost girlfriend, but he is very good at keeping secrets and doesn’t have to dye himself silver to be the life of the party.
Now if I could just teach him to help me pick out what to wear …