Last night I spent time re-reading an old diary. It dates back to when I was a teenager and is filled with notes from friends I made when I was an exchange student in the mid-West of America. As I started reading the notes again, I realised that there were so many people who have come into my life as friends at key points… Growing up, university, moving countries, coming home. Some of them are still in my life, others have welcomely returned as my world comes full circle.
The wonder (and curse) of social media means we can now reach out to eachother in ways that we didn’t before. Though clearly some facebookers think amassing friends is a competitive sport! I’m also amazed by those married couples who only appear to communicate via comments on each others pages…It’s meant to be a relationship, not a communique, surely? But that’s probably the subject of another blog.
For my part, I’m glad that the friends I’ve missed and loved are back in touch. When you are far away from family or lovers – separated by time or geography or circumstance – friends are the people who get you through those tough times. They become your surrogate family – they are there when your heart is breaking, to hug you and give you a glass of wine while you sob on the sofa, they are there with words of encouragement when your biggest challenge proves to be your biggest fear, and they share your excitement when good things happen. Humans are social animals and our friends are a very necessary part of our lives. Too often life (work, commuting, stress) gets in the way of spending time with those friends.
When I go on holiday, I’ve developed a habit of sending myself a postcard with a list of ‘resolutions’ or things I’d like to change or do differently in my life. If I post it on my last day, it usually arrives when I’m back. And it serves as a useful reminder of my good intentions – and a bit of a nudge, if I’m honest. I’m off to the wilderness in about a month, and I think one of the items on my postcard will be to be better at keeping in touch with my friends.