When I say old friends, it doesn’t mean they are no longer my friends. It is a treasured title, one that reflects years of memories together.
“Alyson Vislocky is turning 14, 13 is out the window and 15 is up the street.”- Stacy
This weekend I celebrated my 35th birthday. Every year I receive a phone call from my friend Stacy who sings this magical song to me. It started 20 years ago (oh, my goodness!) and has been a little present I receive either live or by voicemail year after year. Of course, the lyrics have changed slightly, such as my name from maiden to married, but the consistency of the tradition stays the same.
This year, I received the phone call one day late and it sounded like this,
“Alyson Simons is turning 35, (yesterday), 34 is out the window and 36 is up the street.”
Just like the little changes in the song-- and even the fact that the song came a day late this year--our childhood friendship has also changed. I used to be bothered by change, but over the years I have embraced the fact that friendships are not intended to remain the same. Friendships grow and change during the course of one’s life, but that doesn’t mean their significance is lessened. The memories created with old friends will always be treasured, and any new memories created will one day be old memories. There is something special about old childhood friends because they know where your life journey began. The silly middle school moments, the songs you jammed out to, the boys you dated and the stupid mistakes you made. I treasure my childhood friends and the significance they had and still do have in my life.
Nine years ago I moved to Orange County after graduate school. This was the first time in my life I was forced to make friends without the commonality of schooling. I moved to Newport Beach knowing only one person, my ex-boyfriend’s friend Beth, who became my roommate for over four years. She moved from Minnesota, and like me, was a plane ride away from her family. We were two girls in their mid-twenties, single and ready to mingle. However, one problem: it felt impossible to make friends. Where were we supposed to meet friends? The bars at night? I remember on multiple occasions spotting an eligible friend at the gym and trying to figure out the best “pick up line” to see if she wanted to simply be my friend. The scenario played out something like this...
“So, do you live near here? Cool. Wanna hang out sometime?”
We both knew we were in this awkward period in our lives between college and marriage with kids. I was confident friendships would come once I had children, but I also knew that time was years down the road-- if I were lucky enough to have kids. Thank goodness, random friendships developed through random events (assistant coaches, be better women) and, of course, I had Beth by my side the whole time.
I hope one day, all my new friends will become my old friends.
This week’s #bebetter52 challenge happened at a perfect time. Through texts, flowers in the mail, phone calls and a birthday party, my OLD and NEW friends showered me with birthday love.
As predicted, since Cooper’s birth my ways to meet new friends has expanded. I am happily out of the house and more in the community engaging in playful activities. I have meet some of my closest new friends through a Facebook group created by my friend Jessica in Orange County, a group of women who gave birth to babies during the winter of 2015-2016. I found another close friend one early morning in the middle of old town Orange circle as I listened to her read a story to her daughter, a couple months younger than Cooper. We just clicked. I have meet two more moms at storytime at the library.
Living so far away from family, I realize my friends have become like family. I am grateful for my old and new friends who have reached out to me over the last weeks while I am on bed rest. With so many friends spoiling and serving me over the last month, I didn’t have the chance to feel lonely or alone. I hope this experience will always reminds me to reconnect and serve my friends. And I believe it is never too late to reconnect or serve.
I was even lucky enough to have one of my best friends from college randomly in town for a wedding in Newport Beach from the Bay Area.