I thank my lucky stars every day for my friends. Because I moved away from home at such a young age, they were the people that witnessed firsthand my emotionally-charged, teenaged roller-coaster, the people who lent me literal shoulders to cry on, hugged me when I was successful and ventured into the wilds of the world with me.
I suppose I really work at and value my friendships because I easily lost touch with the people I grew up with. Facebook was not yet available, and I had $20 of phone credit to last a month. Most of you remember the days when 25c texts really added up!
So limited communication, combined with the fact that my life was headed down a somewhat unusual (and for the average teenager, unrelatable) path meant that I went through a kind of metamorphosis, and I shed my childhood friends along with my old life.
In the years since I have been active on social media I have had the opportunity to reconnect with a number of people. Some have been with disastrous consequences. It turns out we have nothing in common anymore and the reunion ends up being awkward and disappointing. There have been a few, however, that have been so wonderful that they have given my soul enough fodder to keep me happy and energised for weeks.
Last weekend, I had such an experience in Melbourne. I was catching up with my friend Marina, who I hadn’t seen for about eight years. We danced together in Far North Queensland, and although I have always called her friend, I suppose the fact that she was two years older than me (seemed like a lot back then), gorgeous and good at everything was a little bit intimidating.
We lost touch, while she adventured around the world and I was living and breathing ballet, then finally found each other on Facebook. We’d spoken a few times, and every time we were both home there were suggestions to catch up, but we kept missing each other by a handful of days. Finally, earlier this year after another round of Facebook messages, I decided that if we couldn’t catch up at home, then I should just go to Melbourne, where Marina is now based. So I did.
On Saturday night we saw a ballet together, but the real treat was the time we spent talking and catching up on Sunday. Over waffles, shashouka and chai lattes, we touched on everything from first loves, to family, to our mutual love of brownies. It was somewhere around hour two of the conversation that I realised somehow, in the eight year interim, we had become so much more alike. It’s kind of nice to have someone who isn’t trying to understand what you’re talking about, they just get it.
I’m so glad I had the opportunity to finally make this visit happen. I honestly can’t wait for the next one, because just sitting in a cafe, on a freezing Sunday morning and creating memories with someone like that is chicken soup for the soul, and we all need a little bit of that from time to time.