When we first go to school, we are reluctant to let go of our parents’ hands. We stare at this new world that is inhabited by other kids, from the security of our mom’s lap or dad’s shoulders. The world outside is scary, so strange, a little exciting..and many other things.
Three or four days into school, we take tentative steps towards friendship, with that girl in the cute pink frock or the boy with the dinosaur shaped lunch box!
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Soon our evenings are spent with friends, playing tag, playing with toys or learning to ride a bicycle together.
We plow through primary school and birthday parties with friends, sharing innocent secrets and giggles. We then move to the teen years, where friends become life, and family fades into the background. A time when we learn so many things, a time when we experiment with identity, looks, cliques; a time when we try to be noticed or not noticed at all. A time of tumultuous friendships sometimes, and great moments sometimes too! By this time some friends have been there with us forever, some have vanished!
Then on to university, where more friends get added, many new shared experiences happen; more serious talk happens – about life, career prospects, marriage…!
Then out in the world to earn a living – new dynamics, new friendships, a taste of independence, hosting parties, more relaxed in friendship, more comfortable in one’s skin.
And then marriage, befriending other young couples, visiting each others’ homes, going on trips with them.
Then, when kids arrive, friends become other parents – comparing notes on food and child-related topics, all the time. When friendships only revolve around kids.
As the kids enter their teens and become independent, there’s more time for and with friends. By this time, we are settled in our friendships and views. We have a close-knit group of friends, whom we meet regularly. Friends who have our backs; where there is absolute comfort, where there is no worry about being judged, or about food or cooking.
A kind of friendship where one can just be – talkative or silent, eat in or take out, laugh with or cry with…so many, many beautiful things – when one feels complete in a warm circle of friendship!
It takes time and effort to get there, but when you do get there and find that circle, life is perfect!