Make Time for Old Friends

"In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit." -- Albert Schweitzer

“In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.” — Albert Schweitzer

The older I get, the more I reminisce on how things use to be. The memories that I cherish most seem to be connected by one underlying factor: brotherhood.

Back in my day, everything I did was oriented around my community of friends — not unlike the girls who refuse to go to the bathroom alone, but hopefully a little less intrusive. After school it was routine to hang out with friends, because back then, time was on our side.

The burdensome weight of responsibility and adulthood wasn’t upon us; we were young, wild and, most importantly, free. When that first girl was brave enough to kiss me, my friends were there to cheer me on. They were there the first time I went TPing, strategically putting toilet paper around the house and ultimately ending in escaping angry parents, but we stuck together and made sure we didn’t lose anyone. And when I got homesick at my first sleepover, my friends turned panic into an unforgettable night; this is the brotherhood I’m talking about.

But the older I get, the more excuses I have to be selfish with my time. My fond memories with friends are all I’ve got, because I don’t have the time to make new memories. I’m busy building my future and becoming a grown up. Responsibility is a time killer. It’s a lot easier — and severely selfish — to let go of people and just hold onto memories you shared with them instead of finding the time to hang with old friends.

True as it may be, growing up is a poor excuse to evade long-time friends. Everybody is growing up, so why don’t we grow up together like we did as kids? I pledge to work on this, because I’d rather become a man with a mediocre job, surrounded by friends than a man who sacrificed everything to be alone at the top. On the battlefield of life, I’ve been too focused on what lies on the other side — my career, girlfriend, part-time jobs, internships, school, Netflix — and lost focus on everyone who’s supported me through it all. Friends are the key to a happy life, and there’s no age restriction.

I refuse to become another Facebook stranger amongst my friends. I have family members who spend late nights at the office and early mornings taking the kids to school, so they don’t have “time” for friends. But maybe the kids ditch them for their friends, or the wife leaves for a girl’s weekend, or perhaps they’re a single parent, so it would be nice to have someone their age to be with. Instead, they are home alone, struggling to make dinner for themselves and reminiscing about old friends over their Facebook timeline.

I like talking to my parents and grandparents about their “young and wild” days. It sparks life in them. My grandma, who’s a widow, talks all the time about her friends and how much fun they had. When she tells these stories, she always has a smile on her face. I tell her it’s never too late to connect with old friends and make new memories. She tells me that it was a long time ago and she’s too old now.

My grandparents always remind me of two valuable lessons: the memories you’re making now will be with you for the rest of your life, and don’t give up on making new memories because you’re never too old to have friends. This gives me a lot to think about since my friends and I will be graduating college soon and going our separate ways.

Life is one big picture that can’t fit into any frame or canvas, but there’s plenty of room in your mind. When you’re old and telling your grandchildren about your young and wild days, you won’t be talking about the times you spent kissing your boss’s ass for that promotion or filling out invoices.You’ll tell them about the time you and a good friend stole a bar sign while wasted. You’re never too grown up or responsible for the people who made you who you are today: friends.


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