"Savor your friendships as you grow old; many are silver, but one is pure gold." This is sage advice for those who have been fortunate enough to find that one true friendship. Or perhaps you have maintained friendships from your days in elementary school.
Whatever the case, friends are previous gifts we give to ourselves. As children, friendships are vitally important, most notably as it relates to the socialization process. Meeting a new friend the first day of school is essential, especially if one is particularly shy. Perhaps another girl would sense the shyness and offer a hand in friendship. Forming friendships with others from different cultures enhances a child's early experiences as well, and plants a seed that is healthy and which can be nurtured throughout life. But, preserving friendships are often difficult, even under the best of circumstances.
Whether a friend moves away; or leaves school; or becomes ill, it is especially hard on a child. They are resilient, however, and somehow cope with the loss. As the child becomes a teen, the word friendship takes on a different connotation. While some teens exhibit the closeness and bonding prevalent during their parents' day; others are not so conducive to this type of friendship. Instead, they form gangs which they refer to as their family, and commit acts which were unheard of twenty or thirty years ago. It makes one wonder if this type of friendship is born out of a home where caring and nurturing is non-existent.
Or has peer pressure to act and dress a certain way erased all that was taught in the early years of their childhood. Girls become vicious to each other; more so than boys, and it's inconceivable that a meaningful true friendship exists in that environment. Perhaps as we grow older, the child in us returns to the very first day we attended school.
We appreciate and value the friends we've made in our adult life because they ground us; keep us balanced; watch out for us; protect us; care and help us when needed. True friendships require no expectations; they are unconditional by nature, and bring out the very best of who we are. We rely on each other for comfort; rant and rave knowing our friend will simply listen; discuss issues which we are passionate about, knowing we will be understood. Laugh together; cry together; then eat ice cream while laughing all the more.
How rare is that kind of friendship? How blessed are we to have a true friend who will allow us to be who we are, without judgment. Yes, very rare indeed. As we reach our golden years, our friends may have passed on, but the memories are still intact.
We take out the old scrapbook and reminisce as we thumb through familiar pictures. Suddenly, we laugh and look to one side saying, "Remember ." then stop. A single tear falls down our cheek. We look up and smile because the years have not taken away the recollections of our youthful days, nor has the light of true friendship been extinguished.
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