Considering all my idiosyncrasies and flaws (surely more than my share, at least according to my teenaged children), I've still somehow managed to make some amazing friends in my lifetime.
Most people make dozens of acquaintances every year of their life. Beginning in childhood, we meet new people in the neighborhood, at school, in sports and activities. We encounter new faces in college, at jobs, and eventually through our own children. Some simply remain acquaintances; many just fade from our lives and our memories; and a handful we try hard to forget. (Though try as we might, why can't we forget that one particular Boss-from-Hell?)
Out of the hundreds and hundreds of individuals we meet in our life, something just clicks with some. It may be a shared interest, common beliefs, or simply a similar sense of humor. Usually imperceptibly, often unexpectedly, there's a spark, and a rapport builds.
And then one day, you realize the one-time acquaintance has become a true friend.
Some of my very best friends, still, are those I made in grade school. Perhaps those friendships have perpetuated for the sheer fact of spending eight years together during the most formative times of our lives. Perhaps it's because we have similar backgrounds, though most of us are not, individually, very similar at all.
I've had lasting friendships with a handful of high school and college friends, too. And along the way, I've come to know some great new friends, from current and past jobs, through my children, and even from vacations and writing conferences, when a mere week with these individuals was long enough to forge a continued camaraderie.
Sadly though, even the best of friendships don't always last forever. I've somehow lost touch with a few people who, at one point in my life, were among my closest friends: a grade school friend, at whose house I spent much of every weekend for years; high school buddies who accompanied me on post-graduation road trips that I'll never forget (though early adult activities rendered some parts hazy); and a couple individuals who were at one time so important in my life that I chose them each to do readings at my wedding.
I've found, however, that friendships ebb and flow. They take initiative. They take nurturing. And in 2009, they also take pushing aside a reluctance to jump on the bandwagon of seemingly trendy technology (thank you, Facebook), in order to rediscover, recapture and rejuvenate them.
I'm thankful for every friend I've ever had: the ones who are still around and the ones who've simply faded away into my warm memories. Yes, some old are silver and the others are gold. Just like precious metals, they're all treasured.
Tonight, as I reminisce, I tip my glass (refilled more than once) to you all.