A Common History
This weekend we got to see some old friends and it was really fun. What’s nice about old friends with whom you share a common past is that you can often pick up where you left off and then work from the past to the present filling in the gaps. This was the case this weekend as we headed out to partake in some of the events surrounding my wife’s 20th reunion of graduation from the university in the town where we now live and where I now teach.
When we were undergraduates I think the people we knew filled us with wonder as we imagined how many different types of people there were in the world and how many different types of stories were all coming together in one place. We were excited by the stunts, antics, and experiences that others brought with them to college. We were also really excited to share common experiences with our new friends. I still recall vividly interview questions that our friends got when they went on their first job interviews twenty years ago. This is amazing to me because there are some things that happened last week that I can’t recall… I think the time was all so new and the information so important for our social context, but also important as we built professional contexts for ourselves. We remembered everything – and it was fun to do so.
It was also so quick and easy to make friends in those days. I think that was in part because we didn’t want or need anything from the people we were meeting. College was like one big commune in a pre-market driven world. We shared ideas, laughter, food, rides, cars, books, clothes, Ids and so much more with each other with little thought of any consequence. However, over time the consequences of life slipped into our consciousness and we became more guarded and less open… I think it is this guardedness that makes meeting new people harder today – we didn’t come of age with these people. Furthermore, those old friends all know all of our secrets – they knew us when times were hard and good and only judged us a little – now we’re slow to share our vulnerabilities or to let others share with us and as a result friendships take much longer to develop.
So in my blogging thoughts (and remember these are thoughts that are just in the way of me doing my other writing) are this – I think we need to take more risks with one another as adults and be more vulnerable and authentic. I think we need to share more fully what we’re thinking and what’s in our lives and I think this will not only allow us to make friends in our adult lives, but also help us keep those friends we’ve valued for so many years – helping us to build on our common history as we build a new common history with old friends and new alike.