I’ve always considered myself lucky that I make friends easily. When I go to a party where I know nobody, somehow I will leave that party with a new friend. But the problem with fast friends like that is that the friendship can be fast too. I’ve had so many instant friends who aren’t really my friends a few months later. That’s fine, but it’s always nice when you have a friend that you’ve known for a long time.
My friend Abby is one of my first friends. We met when we were 2 or 3 years old and even though we weren’t in school together growing up we still saw each other from time to time. Abby is the friend who introduced me to my friend Kate (and it’s weird to think of a 9-year-old introducing other 9 year olds to each other). While we weren’t friends who saw each other every day or every week, we were always friends.
We aren’t 100% sure of this, but we think the last time we saw each other in person was when Abby came to my high school homecoming dance my sophomore year. We went as a group that year and she was a party of it. That would have been when we were 15 and we looked like this.
I don’t exactly know how we stayed in touch during college (social media wasn’t a thing then) but somehow we did. And since social media existed we’ve stayed in touch mainly through Facebook. We’ll message each other from time to time. I got her hooked on Old Navy workout clothes and whenever we see a good sale we’ll let the other know about it. And we’ve said that we wanted to get together but it never worked out (she lives in the Bay Area near where we grew up).
But this past week, she was in Southern California for a work convention and she ended up having a little bit of free time during a dinner break on Saturday evening. So I got into my car and drove down to the Anaheim Convention Center (which is so close to Disneyland but my pass was blacked out) to meet up with her. I was so excited to get to see Abby again and realized that we had gone over half of our lives without seeing each other!
We went to dinner at a restaurant near the convention center (but not too close since all of those were so crowded with convention attendees) and finally got a chance to catch up in person! We both remarked about how amazing it is that our friendship has stood the test of time even though we hadn’t seen each other in 18 years. It takes a really special friendship to accomplish that. And it wasn’t weird at all catching up. I think that being in touch on social media helps so we knew what each other had been up to.
She told me about the house that she and her husband bought earlier this year and caught me up on what her family is up to. I told her more of my crazy online dating stories and other bits of randomness that has been going on in my life. But what was the greatest thing about this dinner was how totally normal this was. It felt like we were catching up after not seeing each other for a few months, not years!
Unfortunately, our dinner was quick because Abby had to get back to the last session of the conference she was attending. But of course, we had to get a photo to prove that we hung out together!
But when I put the last photo I know we were in together with this new one, I really can’t believe that there is an 18 year difference in them! I don’t think I look 18 years older in the photo than the old one and neither does Abby. Maybe I’m not a good judge of how old we look, but it doesn’t look that different to me.
When I dropped Abby off at the convention center again, we told each other that we couldn’t let 18 years go by before we see each other again. I know that we can’t promise that it won’t, but we are both really going to make an effort to make sure that doesn’t happen. But if somehow that does happen, I know that our friendship will last and when we do hang out again that it’s not going to seem like that much time has passed (but seriously Abby, we can’t let 18 years go by!).
I feel so lucky to have amazing friends like Abby in my life. I know that not everyone is as lucky as this and don’t have friends that have known them for over 30 years. While it’s nice to be able to make friends quickly like I can, I am so much more grateful for the lifetime friends (or the new friends who will last a lifetime).