Image by batega via Flickr
"It's amazing how when your life changes so do your friends. But luckily, the ones that stick with you and support you are the ones that matter the most."I ran across this message the other day as I perused my Facebook friends' status messages. It really got me thinking about all the things that I have been through in my life and who was there with me. When I think of my past, I often feel like I have lived several different distinct lives within my one lifetime. I guess looking at my life as a book is a good analogy. I started with my grade school, high school and college chapters. Then I experienced a 'girl, interrupted' theme with my cancer chapter. After I finished my cancer treatment, there was my return to college chapter, my 'trying to live a normal life' chapter and now my current chronic illness chapter.
Thinking about all these chapters makes me realize how many people have come into my life. It also makes me realize how much change I have coped with in the past four decades. A big part of what helped me adapt and conquer those changes were the friends that were part of the different chapters in my life.
I feel bad that sometimes I no longer remember the names and faces of the friends who shared these good and bad times with me. I also feel badly that at age 30, I gave up trying to stay in contact with all the friends from my different chapters because the effort to do so became overwhelming and unmanageable for me. Though I now acknowledge that this is the truth, it is still sad to realize that not all friendships are meant to last a lifetime.
That said, I feel fortunate to have a few friends whose friendship has spanned several chapters of my life. Among them are my hubby and my sister-by-choice Cyndie who I have both known for 26 years. Wow, that is a long time!
Connecting with friends is all the more challenging when you live with chronic illness like I do. Getting together with friends in person and on the phone can be very draining. Thank goodness for the Internet and email, which make keeping in touch easier for someone like me. With social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, I am enjoy the modern pleasure of reconnecting with friends from my past as well as meeting new friends who are living with chronic illness just like me.
Most of all, I feel truly grateful for the gifts of friendship that I have received over the years. After completing several chapters of my life, I can now say that I think I have this whole friendship thing worked out and I am endeavoring to be the best friend I can be from this point forward. As we used to sing in Girl Scouts, "Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other gold."