What Lasts

It is scary to be old enough to have had a 20-year high school reunion. On the other hand, it is amazing to be old enough to gather with former school friends all of whom are capable of recognizing and celebrating the various ways we’ve become adults.

During winter carnival weekend, a small group of friends from junior high and high school gathered to watch street events and reconnect with Steamboat and with each other. People in the group have done impressive things—become doctors or engineers, sold everything and started over with a new lifestyle that fit better, given birth. Perhaps most impressive to me was that we all still enjoyed each other.

Some of these people I see annually and some I hadn’t seen for over twenty years, but we still laughed and told stories not as if time hadn’t passed but rather with a miraculous ease in spite of being aware that it had.

The idea that the friendships we make before age 25 are more lasting than those we make later in life has come up in conversation recently. I doubt this is uniformly true, but I think there’s something to it.

Things enter us differently when we’re children than when we’re adults—landscape, music, language; so many things go straight into our DNA, so to speak, unquestioned and unfiltered by the layers of judgment we practice as adults. Perhaps this is true for childhood friendships, too—they get wired in somehow.

It’s nice to know that even when our daily thinking and acting is overlaid with adult concerns, we can rediscover the connections we formed when life was more immediate. And see what good choices our younger selves made.