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“Friendship, is a distinctively personal relationship that is grounded in a concern on the part of each friend for the welfare of the other, for the other’s sake, and that involves some degree of intimacy. As such, friendship is undoubtedly central to our lives, in part because the special concern we have for our friends must have a place within a broader set of concerns, including moral concerns, and in part because our friends can help shape who we are as persons.” (Friendship: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, pub: May 17, 2005).
I have been thinking a lot about friendship lately; the nature of friendship; its capacity to endure over distance and time, and the role of friendship in my life. I have been considering the popularity of friendship sites on the web; helping to reconnect people and keep them in touch. It is comforting to know what your your friends are up to. I find it helps you feel and stay connected to them even when you don’t directly communicate. Everyone is so busy these days. I’m sure that it can be easy to feel isolated running around in your own little world, but the ease of communication through FriendsReunited.com, Facebook and MySpace puts you back in the mix. Sure there are many cons that can be discussed, and dangers to be aware of, in an age of technology, but this is not a dissertation on pros and cons of the internet. I am talking about how these things have impacted my own life.
I have travelled all over. I’ve moved and moved and moved, first with the British Army and then with the USAF. By the time John and I bought this house and moved back to Colorado to settle, I had moved house 21 times since I was 18 years old. Sixteen of those prior years I spent in the same place in the same home. These sites have brought people back to me from all over the world and from all times in my life, right back to my first real friends at that first real home.
The importance of connecting to my roots and past, particulary now that I have settled so far from home, is significant for me. I don’t think I am alone in this, considering the popularity of those sites!
I always think it is funny when you see things on television and in films where astonished re-aquaintances utter, “wow you’ve changed so much.” Really? I don’t think so. Whenever I have reconnected with someone it is how much they haven’t changed that strikes me; both in appearance and personality. The appearance is accounted for by the fact that we are all aging at the same rate. If you look back at photographs you see an obvious difference but looking at someone for the first time in 15 or 20 years, who you were close with, is like staring at them again right back there in the past. When it comes to personality, I think that I still have the same fundamental beliefs I had as a child (the same instincts for sure), only they are developed now and ,most importantly, I understand them now. I’m also capable of hiding them, ignoring them, or exaggerating them at my own convenience. My observation is that we all become great manipulators without even trying. In my experience so far, the people I am fortunate enough to call friends are still the same.
There are hurts along the way, of course, and it’s never easy to ignore them as they happen; but it does become possible to recognize, over time, when the damage was intentional, and done with blatant disregard for the other or with complete malicious intent. Because of this, I have come to believe that genuine feeling never dies unless you make a concerted effort to kill it; it seems it just nestles in the empty spaces of your heart waiting to be relevant to your life, and surprize you by its endurance.
So, in thinking about my life; thinking about relationships; thinking about the friendships that I formed along the way and the rocky, emotional path, that brought me to the peaceful and, quite seriously, blissful existance I have today; and thinking how each important encounter is an integral part of how I developed, I have realised that there are a few people who will always be relevant to my life. They will always endure.
I want to talk about some of them in this blog; some I’ve remained in contact with; some recently re-established contact with; and some I haven’t heard from for very many years. I’ll be changing some of the names to protect the guilty [namely me ;)], unless I have their permission to use their name, as I progress through this story. It won’t be day-by-day, but I’ll write in spurts, picking up where I left off, and even if no-one else reads it, I’m looking forward to looking back and putting into words what has led me to where I am today.
I hope that you have a life full of friendship and love. Have a great day.
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