21 August 2005

Silver & Gold

I remember when I was a kid, my mom had this book (put out by Reader's Digest I think) of American Best Loved Poems and one of them was about Friendship - called Silver & Gold. It went like this...

Silver and Gold
Make new friends, but keep the old;
Those are silver, these are gold.
New-made friendships, like new wine,
Age will mellow and refine.
Friendships that have stood the test-
Time and change-are surely best;
Brow may wrinkle, hair grow gray;
Friendship never knows decay.
For 'mid old friends, tried and true,
Once more we our youth renew.
But old friends, alas! may die;
New friends must their place supply.
Cherish friendship in your breast-
New is good, but old is best;
Make new friends, but keep the old;
Those are silver, these are gold.

I have been thinking about it the last few days - partially brought on by Neil's post but also because of events in my own life. The thing about old friendships is that the commonalities they are based on change as we grow and change. The friends that recognize that life isn't static, and that we might not be the exact same people anymore, are the ones that hang in for the long haul. I have a few old friends - I've also lost old friends. The ones I have lost were the ones who continued to relate and respond to who I was in high school. I'm not that person anymore (at least I hope not). I have to say that the old friendships I've managed to keep are with people who not only recognize that I have evolved, but they are aware of their own evolution and are able to renew the connection based on who we are now.

My high school friend, Lori, comes to mind - boy, she and I had so much in common in high school, then in college not so much and then she moved to Chicago and began traveling with theatre gigs and as a single woman, she was away more than she was home. In the meantime, I got married, buckled down economically and turned the gas down low on most creative dreams. Not a lot in common. In 1994, I had just begun getting back into acting and writing and, lo and behold, Lori came to L.A. with the cast of
Forbidden Hollywood. She was here for 4 months and we renewed a friendship based on our creative selves and our mutual interest in all kinds of spiritual prompts. We were evolving as women and we could feel the movement inside. After that, she went back to Chicago to move to NYC. My marriage ended and I became a law office manager, continued with my writing and we tried to keep in touch more often. Now, 11 years later, she lives here and she'd like to find Mr. Right, but in the meantime pursues a career in acting. I remarried and now pursue a career in writing.

Not sure where I was going with all of that but I think what I'm trying to say is that "old friends" are great and they are "gold" but the gold has to be dusted off and polished or it loses its shine. In the meantime, I have newer friends I would say have quickly gone from "silver" to "gold" and it is because I know that whether they are a permanent part of my life, they have touched me at a deeper level more quickly. Maybe I'm just more open now, less afraid of being misunderstood because I know who I am and am okay with my flawed self, especially since I feel like I'm always trying to be a better person. I'm also okay with my past mistakes and for the most part can laugh at them. (Those that I can't laugh at, I at least can work up a wry smile.)

I'm going to Lori's tomorrow for lunch..she's loving having an actual kitchen now that she has moved to L.A. (don't even ask about the size of her NY apt.) and just can't stop using me as a guinea pig. I don't mind because I don't like to cook - that's the other thing about friends, their strengths sometimes compensate for your weaknesses....beautiful thing.


Neil said...

Nice thoughts. And true. Who would have thought that a Reader's Digest Book would have such wisdom.

Cammy said...

What a lovely post! I lost a 'silver' friend this year. Our friendship was like yours and Lori's, always shifting to fit where we were in our lives, and we were both okay with that. Your post made me remember her today, and for that I'm very grateful.