“Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born” (Anais Nin).
One of the positive side effects of learning new things (I recently wrote about other benefits in beyondcareerwoman.com/never-stop-learning/) is making new friends. Thinking some more about this, I realised I first met most of my non work friends in learning environments.
Not so long ago my partner, cat and I moved into a first floor maisonette in south west London whose pocket handkerchief garden was a blank canvas. Determined to tackle this garden-in-waiting, I signed up for a course for people who wanted to design their own gardens.
At the end of the course some of us arranged to get together and we met up just as the hot weather was breaking at the lovely Chelsea Physic Garden.
We had a table in the sunshine at the quirky and surprisingly excellent restaurant in the garden. The salads were colourful and flavoursome and the rack of lamb done to perfection. The wine flowed, the conversation ranged from gardening to politics and everything in between. When the heavens opened, the staff carried our table under an impressive marquee and we carried on talking, drinking and eating (there was cake involved at some point!).
I enjoyed the experience so much that I’ve arranged to meet two of my oldest friends there next week. They are university friends who, until recently, I’d kept in touch with only by Christmas card (you know the kind – “maybe this year we’ll get together…”).
Life, but mainly work, had got in the way of tending to my friendships. When time is a scarce resource, when you’re overwhelmed, a lot of important things fall by the wayside.
But last Christmas my father died and I did a lot of soul-searching about the past, and thinking about love and friendship. I re-realised how precious friends are. I set about getting in touch with the people I’d neglected but still cherished deep down.
Keeping friendships alive takes work – as all relationships do. But true friendships are a joy, so the effort is well worth it. For me, I’m beginning to feel more grounded and connected – connected to my friends, to my past, to my life.
I’m looking forward to going back to Chelsea Physic Garden and seeing my old friends after all this time. I’m also looking forward to many other reunions in the weeks and months ahead, and to making new friends along the way!
Don’t let work get in the way of your true friendships, or lose sight of how precious friends are. Cherish, nurture and enjoy them!
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