16 YEARS IN 60 MINUTES
I recently had lunch with an old friend who I hadn’t really seen since we were in school together. We’ve both gotten older, no doubt. There’s no ignoring more than a decade and a half of time passed.
Still, sitting across the table from my friend, it didn’t feel like any time had passed at all. It was like we’d been away only a weekend since our Friday classes.
We talked of big, historical benchmarks – marriage, kids birthdays, job changes – and little things – Harry Potter, sugar packets, and facial hair. Really, not much different from conversations we had sixteen years ago.
No, that’s not exactly true. One difference. There was more…weight. Not my waistline – though that’s true too. There was more weight to the words. It’s not that the conversation was grave or the topics serious or depressing. It was a weight that comes from living 16 years of life. We’re not old, but we’re not the 20-something college kids who spent all day surrounded by other 20-somethings with nothing to do all day but think Great Thoughts. We have spouses and kids and mortgages and jobs with obligations to do for others, unlike college where the obligations are largely for yourself (so that, theoretically, you can go out into the world later and do for others).
That change could be called maturity, maybe, but more specifically it’s just moving on down life’s road. If you’re a forty-something, you know there are plenty of your contemporaries who haven’t matured at all. My friend and I have matured, I think, with a winking nod to the fact maturity isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be and occasionally, on a limited basis, needs to be temporarily scaled back.
Time is a funny thing.I took guitar lessons as a kid. Got pretty good. One day, I stopped going to lessons. Now when I pick up a guitar, I barely remember any chords. On the other hand, I vividly remember other things from that same era. I can’t remember the details of a conversation I had last week with a colleague I see everyday, but I can remember many conversations with friend two decades ago.
I’m a time-travel story fan. (I talk about “Doctor Who” a LOT on this blog.). Sitting down with an old friend after a long separation is a little like time travelling into the past. I highly recommend it. Just don’t step on any ants on your way out of the restaurant, lest you bring about the end of the world in the future. That’s a friendship killer right there.
(Told you I like to suspend maturity and seriousness once in a while.)