Friday, September 03, 2010

He's leaving home

There is a certain bittersweetness when your friends move when you are older. When I was younger, I didn't seem as big of a deal when I lost touch with friends or when they moved cross country.

When I was 22, my best friend moved to Oregon, minimally to go to college, and, well, 18 years later, he's still there. At the time, I'm sure I was a little melancholy about his leaving, but it seemed like he could be back any day. When you are young, there is nothing but days ahead and chances to see everyone gathered happily back together once again. And this was in the days before the wide use of e-mail, before Facebook and instant messaging and video calls and a million ways for the world to stay in touch from South Middleboro to the top of Mount Everest. Irregardless, I was lucky that my friend who moved to Oregon was an accomplished letter writer (and may be now the last person to send handwritten letters stuffed in envelopes affixed with stamps through the US postal system). And he came home to visit often enough that its likely I stayed in touch with him much better than I did with many people who still lived much closer to me.All these years later, we see each other once or twice a year if we're lucky, we use all the fancy techy doodads to communicate as much as we can, and it feels as natural a friendship as it ever did, despite the distance.

But about a month ago, a close friend of mine took off on a cross country trip of indeterminate length and destination. Even though I had gone almost 15 years without seeing this friend, over the past year or two we've become pretty close, once again, thanks in part to the wonders of technology, and more importantly through seeing him on a regular basis. But his departure seemed to hit me a little harder than my best friend's leaving had nearly 20 years before. And this is with knowing that with all the IMs and FBs I would still be in touch with him much more than I could have ever imagined being in touch with my friend who left decades earlier.

As we get older, the impermanence of time becomes more of a reality. I'm still expecting to be around for a very long time, but there is a realization that what can be lost might not come back, or if it does, it could be years, or even decades away. Just as youth brings promise, age brings reflection.


Blogger Honkey Dorey said...

Damn, I wasn't expecting something as emotionally powerful as this one. It was awesome. And tomorrow, I want to hear a retelling of you giving blood because I still can't hear "Every Rose has Its' Thorn" without laughing.

9:25 PM  
Blogger endangered coffee said...

Hahahahaha, I'm sure there's probably another medical misadventure or two I could pull out of my sleeve.

9:39 PM  
Anonymous Madwomanranting said...

Irregardless, you're a good friend.

9:14 PM  

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