Wednesday, April 9, 2008

High School and Other Fast Times

Lately I’ve been having some good times with girlfriends, talking about clothes, participating in activities, phone calls for help and advice, quick dining after work to name a few. It caused me think about female friendships and what they mean to me now and what they have meant to me.

High School was the time for hours and hours of my week devoted to time/conversation. Kathy was my best friend in High School. We went to class every day, saw each other between classes since we shared a locker and then called each other after to school to talk about our day or whatever. I’m still amazed we had that much to talk about. It must have been dreams and schemes, at least half of which never materialized.

College was an adjustment. No parents around to monitor activities or selection of friends, but I didn’t get to see my closest friends as often as I would have liked. There was school work, which frankly wasn’t hard until the senior year, but you did have to do it. Times with girlfriends like Melene or Paulette became more event oriented, we went to concerts in the park, movies in Westwood, dinner at the home of grandparents and of course, shopping. There was THE pair of jeans that we all wore which seems weird since we were all shaped differently, some long and lean, some curvy. But those jeans made us all look GOOD.

Dates really entered the picture during college times. Guys change the dynamic. You want to go out, be desired, but who was ready to get into something serious? Apparently most of my friends as they were married and some divorced before I was married at 23 years old. Whew! The advantage of girlfriends when dating is obvious, someone to help you dress for the date, either advice or shared clothes. And then following the date the debrief. There’s nothing like the positive re-enforcement from a friend before you head out with your ego on the line.

Then marriage and family. No husband wants to be girlfriend, besides they don’t remember what everyone was wearing, what was said and what was meant by what was said. But they probably do remember the food. Friends have to be able to pick up where we left off, peppered with lots of grace for forgotten birthdays and other significant events or the relationship falls by the wayside. But those enduring friendships are the meaningful, precious, joyful rewards of living a people focused life. Doing work together from MOPS to PTA to HOA boards, from family camping, picnics at Lake Loveland, or coffee at Starbucks, girlfriends add the conversation, fashion and relationship to any activity.

Aging doesn’t change the need for those comfortable, casual encounters. When a friend says, “relaxing in my bedroom, stretched out on the bed talking about our day in the mountains and planning the next time together reminded me of high school,” or when loaning scarves for a trip to Paris to other friend who says, “Oh, just like a best-friend.”

That’s when you know what James Taylor means when he says “you’ve got a friend.”