Sunday, August 1, 2010

Old Friends

What astounds me is this:

I love being middle-aged.

When I was the age my boys are now, I dreaded being un-young. The sensible shoes. The sprayed hair. The oversized glasses. The loss of cool.

Now that I'm there, though, I've realized that I've been middle-aged all my life, even when I was chronologically in my teens: I had no cool to lose. Sensible shoes are comfortable, oversized glasses accommodate bifocals, and sprayed hair is surprisingly practical.

An unexpected benefit of being 50-something is that my friends are also middle-aged.

I spent the weekend with the some of my oldest friends, at least in terms of years of friendship. These are the relationships that have survived since childhood, the kind that feels as if every conversation should begin "As we were saying..." even if it was a decade since we last spoke.

A few years ago the four of us decided to not let a decade go by between the conversations, so now we get together every summer for one weekend. The soundtrack sounds like this:


We discover that we're a little older, a little creakier, a little more forgetful, but we're also more our true selves every year. The years have worn off most of the sharp edges; there's no need to impress or dissemble.

We stay up late and eat pie for breakfast and squeeze a year of closeness into 48 hours.

Then we put on our sensible shoes, walk out the door, and miss each other for 11 months and 28 days.

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