I was always happy to reconnect with old friends I’d lost touch with over the years, but in the back of my mind I harbored the fear that life shaped us into completely different people then we once were – that our respective experiences changed our outlooks and personas into two people no longer compatible for friendship. This is always a possibility and indeed is a fact of life, but one can’t help but hope the friendship can continue where it left off. This has been a recurring theme in the recent months, and although I’ve encountered it time and time again I still feel the tinges of that fear when running into a familiar face.
And yet, this has almost never been the case. When running into old friends, it as though no time had passed at all since our last meeting. Rather than being overjoyed by this (that my fear was all for nothing), I find myself disgusted. ‘How have you not changed?!’ I scream inside my head. Throughout the past five years, not a thing has occurred to change your opinions or personality? How were you left behind as time moved forward?
This was illustrated when, while catching up with a friend, an acquaintance of his who he had not seen in a similar amount of time approached. Their reunion was also a happy one, and while speaking the stranger embraced my friend saying ‘Man, you haven’t changed a bit’. My friend had the biggest grin upon hearing this (for it was given as a compliment) and I realized that it was indeed accurate. He hadn’t changed a bit. Nothing in recent life has affected nor moved him so that he changed in one small way, and he wore that stagnation as a badge of honor. A quality that is anathema to the concepts of life and growth is taken to be a compliment of the highest honor. Your current weekends are identical to your weekends half a decade ago. Your evenings are still spent using substance to fast forward through your life. You have wrapped a blanket of familiar experience around your body and refuse to leave the safety of your cocoon. And worse yet, your are proud of these things.
I was foolish to fear that my friends have changed. Now I fear that they stay the same.