These last few weeks I’ve had some wonderful times with old friends who’ve come to visit me. My university friends, most of whom have known me since I was 17 (25 years ago….yikes!) And then my friend, who I met in San Francisco, who came over from France with her husband.
I’ve always kind of confused nostalgia with reminiscing…but now I understand the difference. Nostalgia has always been one of the most painful, deliciously poignant feelings for me. And to be honest I try and avoid my personal nostalgia as it feels like it’s cutting me through the heart. (And if ever I need masochistically reminding of how it feels I just listen to Charles Aznavour singing La Bohème). But I’ve decided reminiscing about your youth and younger days is probably one of the most fun things you can ever do. And that’s so different from and so much better than nostalgia.
I’ve not laughed so much or made my memory work so hard in ages, digging up memories or crazy times (breaking into the zoo at night, punting along the river playing opera on a ghetto blaster thinking we were all so cool, glamming up for a ball, celebrating birthdays at open air cinemas….). And the joy of being in a group of people where every person remembers different things is fantastic. They’re like magic mirrors reflecting treasured moments, and telling you things about yourself that you never knew of or appreciated at the time.
But then one of my friends told me she felt bad as she never calls and hardly emails. But that she always thinks of me. And I started thinking about how guilty we all make ourselves feel all the time, if we’re not always in touch with our old friends regularly. And that invariably it’s the friends who live closest who get most of your attention and time and energy.
But I realized it doesn’t matter if we don’t call or email all the time. The bonds of friendship we form, at whatever stage in our lives, if they are real and true, will last. And it’s not about regular contact. It’s about remembering why you love someone and never forgetting. And somehow when you get together it’s like it was only yesterday that you last saw them and it’s so easy and so special and so much fun.
I’m truly blessed to have good, old (long-term that is, as opposed to age!!) friends, many of whom are far away from me. And I’m so lucky that many are coming to see me. Weirdly I’m having the best time of my life, while I have death looming over me. How strange is that? And how beautiful!