In this weekend’s New York Times, there was an essay about making friends as an adult, how it’s common to shed friends from earlier in life with whom you no longer have anything in common but then many adults never fill in the voids left once those friends are gone. They talked about how to make new friends, and how friendships at this stage of life are different than when we were bar-hopping in our 20s.
So be it.
Saturday night, Dan and I had a party – a rip-roarin’, late-talking, much-drinking party. Probably 15-20 people came by, and most of those were new friends. People I’ve met and become acquainted with in the past year or two.
How you like them apples?
Maybe it is a problem but maybe it’s also just something that ebbs and flows in the course of life.
There were old friends too, even a friend from college days, renewed and enjoyed this many decades later.
But the remarkable thing of it is that when I scanned the room, past the shrimp plate and the prosciutto-wrapped melon and the cheese plate and the dumplings, past the sangria with saturated fruit floating in it, to be grabbed late in the night while we stood around talking, I realized that this is the landscape of my life today and it looks pretty damn good.
We meet people in the unlikeliest of places. When I was a kid I would strike up conversations on airplanes and once landed at my destination, wistfully wave goodbye to my new friend I couldn’t imagine never seeing again. (Who am I kidding – it still happens.)
When we started going to a new swim club this summer, I plopped my towel down on a lounge chair and all the goggles-sunscreen-flipflops and a woman on the next chaise was looking at me. What else could I do but say, “Hi! I’m Lynne.” It’s like that. You walk through the open door or you stand there, awkward and gaping, unsure what to do until the moment passes and you kick yourself for not having the guts to say hello to a stranger. It’s far easier to just say hi.
On the tables, we placed white roses and pink gerber daisies, white candles from our wedding in glass holders, and stacks of books that didn’t quite go together: Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea (a personal favorite) with Fifty Shades Freed, for example. There were many and just as intended, people said, “How would Hemingway feel about being on the same table as a Fifty Shades book?” And then the conversations started.
More drinks later, we were still talking about sex and relationships. In some ways nothing changes in life. We age, gain weight, lose hair, grow tired more easily, but we still are fascinated about the same things: how we stay together, how people find happiness, why some relationships work and others don’t. The mysteries of the world.
And so it was. Saturday night, until 1:30 a.m., we had mostly new friends at the house, an awesome mix of music prepared by my husband in the background, and food and drink until we were stumbling for bed. It was a lovely night, full of surprises in the way that new friends become embedded in one’s life.
It’s reassuring, isn’t it, that our lives, our days, our moments keep regenerating, that when one thing ends, another begins, a door closing symbolizing a window somewhere else.