I was inspired to write this column by a letter to the editor. Richard Hahn wanted to share some of his life lessons with the rest of us, and it certainly got me thinking. He said the key to life, basically, is friendship, that is the relationships you have with everyone in your life.
What a great philosophy.
Of course, as I grow older, I realize how true this statement is.
Friends are such an important part of our lives. Mine started with the playground in elementary school. I was a little bigger than the other girls, not obese, just bigger. In those days, the boys used to chase the girls around the playground. I'm not really sure why.
However, it was determined that my role was to keep the boys from chasing the girls. I don't have a clue how I did that, but it must have worked because I hung around with these girls for years. Thus my first bonding experience began.
As I grew older, I became good friends with the girls in my neighborhood. Unfortunately, they went to the Catholic school and I went to public school, so we only saw each other on the weekends.
I begged my mother to let me become Catholic. The thought makes me smile now.
There are many reasons to change religions, but this wasn't one of them, my mom decided. We all managed to find time to be friends, though, and I have a lot of great memories.
Once I graduated from high school, I moved away and started a new life, leaving the old one friends and all behind.
I made new friends, though wild and crazy friends. We did silly things, awesome things and we were extremely close. Then I moved away again.
I kept in touch as best I could, but after a while our lives changed and the immediate things before us took precedence; everything else just started to fade. Eventually it turned into the once-a-year Christmas card with the generic letter to everyone from the mailman to grandma.
I initially despised the lack of personal touch, but over the years I became one of them, even including photos of the dogs and occasionally my husband.
After many years of living in different places and having different jobs, I started to see a definite pattern in my friendships. I meet people, enjoy their company, create unforgettable memories and move on.
I'm probably no different than most. Still, I have to admit I am a bit jealous when I meet people who have been friends their whole lives or call or see each other every day. It's not quite my style, but I still envy them.
That's why it's been a nice change living in Alaska. I have developed friendships outside of work, which is quite rare for me. And not only have I met wonderful people, I also have met wonderful people I look forward to talking to or seeing almost every day.
I guess you could say it's like coming home.
So thank you, Mr. Hahn, for reminding me how important these people are to me and how much they've become a part of my life. Through every phase of it, there have been special people to see me through the good, the bad and the ugly, and for that I am grateful.
I'm glad I got the opportunity to learn this lesson before I got too old to appreciate the people in my life. It's definitely been one worth learning.
Dori Lynn Anderson is the managing editor at the Peninsula Clarion. Write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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