23 August 2015

papersquare 011: connections


Making friends in later life is much more action oriented than when you are a child. As a child, there are a bunch of you all the same age, and you feel like you've won the lottery if the popular girl picks you above others to play with.  You eventually settle down with a smaller group of closer friends and, if you never move away, I guess barring betrayals, the shared experiences hold you together through life.

Moving away to college, you pretty much go through the same process, but it is spiced by the knowledge that it isn't the first time and it isn't fixed any more; you had to make a brand new set of friends, and could even have made a brand new you if that was what you wanted. There were more choices than you ever had before, you could get close to people with shared interests, and if you were still discovering interests, reinvention was the name of the game . You still had most of your life ahead of you to keep up with these more mobile friends; and reminisce on older wilder times.

As a middle age rolling stone come to rest, you have to take an active part, to reach out to find people with shared interests, and hope for a connection.  You can join groups, discuss things and still not find that spark of meaning that makes you look forward to talking to a person again.
And then sometimes someone just makes you want to open up and be yourself because they make you feel like a interesting person; they wave their hands and point out things you know and you think, yes, that is how I would say it if I had been able to put it into words.  Or their words drift onto things you don't know and yet you now yearn to find out more. When you are talking there is a flow, and you fill in sentences for each other.  When the word ekphrasis is used and mutually understood, when tea and cakes turns into hours, when there is a regret that it is time to part; then you smile as a connection draws gold lines towards a friendship.
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