Perhaps you weren't aware that I left.
But I did. I went to Florida - to the beach - for a weekend away with old college friends.
And it was lovely.
So good to be there. To be away. To be free (if only temporarily) from our various responsibilities, free from our "real worlds," free from our workaday ruts.
It was nice to be free to lounge with no thoughts of to-do lists, and free to laugh. Laugh even though life is hard, and sometimes horribly tragic. Laugh even though our lives may not look exactly like we want them to.
Laugh even though our lives probably don't look like how we imagined they would -- however we imagined them -- ten years ago when we stood on the Lawn and got our walking papers into the future, graduated into our adult selves, moved away from each other.
But this weekend, we came from Boston, Detroit, South Bend and NYC (chez moi), to reunite. And laugh. And it was good.
My friend SmAsh (not pictured above) always says that he likes when friends make fun of him, because then he knows that they're really real friends.
Maybe because people who aren't deep friends are mired in politeness and can't joke around so freely? Or because mere acquaintances stay at surface-level and don't really know the real you? Not well enough to make fun of the real you, anyways?
I don't know. It's just something SmAsh says, and it's true for him.
* * *
I think maybe it was true for me, too, this weekend.
I was conscious of, and grateful for, the incomparable ease and comfort that comes with spending time with old friends – friends who have seen you through so many iterations of you over the years.
With them, it’s easy to own up to weaknesses – “Yeah, I’m chronically ambivalent” or “Yeah, one leg is shorter than the other” or “Yeah, I’m bad at spelling.”1 To own up to these things without shame or fear of judgment. Without apology or defensiveness.
Because old friends already know it all. And love each other anyways.
And when we tease or joke about these things, there is no harshness, no aim to hurt. Just deep familiarity. But rather than breeding contempt, this familiarity creates a sanctuary and breeds laughter.
Or something of that sort. I’m guessing and hoping you know what I mean.
Anyways. It was a real lovely weekend.
1 Some of those examples may or may not be applicable to me personally. I’ll leave it to you to guess. :)