Thursday, December 29, 2011

Friends and Resolutions

I am not much for making New Year’s resolutions. Never have been. I like to think that if I see a change that needs making, I try to make it regardless of the date on the calendar. That may or may not be true, but it’s what I like to think.

But having just sorted the Christmas cards into piles – recyclable, throw-away, and a very few that I will keep and find next year or the year after, tucked away in the Christmas tree ornaments or wrapping paper – I think I should resolve to make more of an effort to reconnect with old friends in the new year.

In an era when our mailboxes rarely contain more than bills and catalogs, the flurry of cards at the holidays is like a boon for the heart. Some are from people who live down the road, or down the Interstate, whom I see and speak with regularly. Many are from cousins and other relatives from all sides of the family. And some cards come from friends far away, bearing photos of faces from my past in their own versions of the present.

Whether I’m opening a crisp envelope addressed in familiar handwriting, or sending my own cards to faraway places, I remember these friends from different stages of my life and the times we shared. I spent a good few years in my 20s wanderlusting from New England and Upstate New York to Europe and Colorado and Ireland and, finally, back to New England. I’ve left a piece of my heart in most of the places I’ve lived, and carry with me the friendships and memories from each stop along the way.

So, while I love the life I’m in now, the sending and receiving of Christmas card greetings and photos makes me miss acutely the folks with whom I’ve shared some of my past. The now-California girl I spent a summer with hitchhiking around Ireland. The childhood buddy I dragged out to Colorado with me, who still lives there 15 years later. The friend I got to know and love on a spontaneous wilderness backpacking trip in Colorado. The former roommate who took me camping when my beat-up truck had a flat and I was desperate to sleep under the stars. The wonderfully fun women I played soccer with during my summer in Connemara. The friends I’ve worked with and skied with in various places. The high school pals who have grown along with me, becoming doctors, teachers, parents.

Some of them I think of only occasionally. Others I miss nearly every day.

It is easy in the busy-ness of raising kids, maintaining a career, and keeping a home to become content with an occasional brief email message, phone text, or Facebook post to keep in touch. But really those are sorry replacements for an actual conversation – whether over a coffee shop latte, a glass of wine, or on the phone.

Our friendships, whether new, old, or rediscovered, make life richer in so many ways. And so I hope to reconnect with some old friends in the year to come – and make the time to create great memories with friends old and new.

Here’s to a New Year prosperous in friends!

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