A question I ask myself many times and always the answer would be ‘yes’.
Why would I want to try to make new friends at this late stage of my life? How could two people possibly catch up on all the previously missed years of each other’s growing up, schooling, marriage, having kids etc etc.? Too much work and too little time to fill each other in on all the gaps. But life is strange and sometimes you bump into those rare people who you know you can connect with almost straight away. Despite them not having been present in your earlier life, in the ensuing conversations that you have, it’s almost effortless to fill them in on the details of your life as time goes by.
For the most part, I have a select few friends who’ve been by my side for many years and witnessed all those major milestones in my life. Likewise, I’ve been a part of their lives too. Such friends are not easy to come by and even if we don’t catch up weekly or monthly, we know we can just pick up where we last left off and not feel guilty for the silence in between. We get it. No need to explain ourselves. That’s a special type of friendship.
In more recent years though, I’ve met a few wonderful people who I feel confident enough to call ‘a friend’. They are very few but the quality is deep. If the definition of ‘friend’ is someone who wishes only the best for you, or who offers their time and advice unreservedly and without any self-interest, then I have definitely been fortunate to have made a few new friends, Alhamdulillah. Though I was never in search of them, Allah had bigger plans and I’m grateful for them enriching my life. We’ve shared happiness, sadness and madness! But it’s all been great.
And yet here comes the cynic in me…
I don’t believe all friendships will stand the test of time. Sadly, I’ve lived long enough to know that people can be very unpredictable. Suddenly, they disappear from the friendship radar and unexplicably so. I’ve lost a few friends over time for reasons I still don’t understand today. No explanation. Nothing. Cold turkey was the dish for the day. It’s disappointing given I’d at least like to have known the reason for their sudden disappearance. However, I’ve come to learn that if such people can’t see the value of my friendship, then I really don’t need to waste my energy trying to prove it to them. The biggest reminder of being in that demoralising state was the time leading up to my divorce – when I desperately tried to convince my ex to reconsider his decision to separate. Ever since then, I vowed I would never denigrate myself again and beg to be of any significance in anyone’s life. I will never chase someone for validation. A rule I even apply to my own sons. My purpose on this Earth is not to prove my worth to anyone except Allah.
In life, some you win, some you lose. The same applies to human relationships. I intend to keep moving forward. If anyone wants to join me on this journey, they are welcome. However, they need to understand that I will not be checking in on their commitment. I no longer fear people deciding to get off at the next stop. It’s perfectly fine.
I will no longer apologise for taking care of myself and understanding my self-worth. And I make the distinction between self-worth and self-importance. The latter has a haughty connotation to it whereas the former speaks of a silent dignity within. I feel unfettered by people now. It’s not that I don’t cherish human interaction. To say that would be totally disingenuous. It’s more that I haven’t got time to hang around and collect reviews on my personality.
The biggest irony is that one of the best things my ex-husband did for me was after divorce. He inadvertantly taught me never to diminish my self-worth, never to rely on a human too much for anything and never to seek meaning in my life through others. I’m sure a little bit of all that existed in me already which is why I have managed to bounce back, Alhamdulillah. In fact, it’s precisely because all of that existed in me, I was not the archetypal dependent wife. Too bad.
Like a tide that ebbs and flows, so too are some of our friendships and human encounters through life. Each situation brings its own beauty and lessons and there should never be regrets for what the tide takes away with it. Let it float on downstream.
One thought on “Too Old for New Friends?”
Always a pleasure to read your articles. I agree that Ofcourse we will hold onto our old friends as they are the people like our family who have grown with us. They know us for all our ups and downs. In this journey of life it’s also wonderful encountering new people. Perhaps they may not know much about our past but we can benefit from the relationship in learning from them and enriching our lives. What have we to lose
LikeLiked by 1 person