Every December 31st, I find myself turning to the person next to me and saying “can you believe, that come tomorrow, we’ll never be able to say that it’s [insert current year] again?” It happened again this year, and I found myself remembering what it was like to say it was 1992, 1997, 2003, and then realizing that this year will mark my four-year college reunion. Suddenly I felt old as fuck. And I realized that I needed to create some of those cliche new years resolutions that I try to do every year, but there was something that stuck out to me that I really needed to do.
As I wrapped up 2012, I think it was a pretty solid year! First year at a new job, then that startup got acquired by Google, I made a ton of new friends, I spent quality time with family, I fell in love with a bunch of new music…the list goes on. But I realized there was something I could have done a lot better, and this has been a fault of mine for most of my life. I failed to do a good job of keeping in touch with old friends. Through each stage of my life, I seem to have little trouble making new friends; I guess that’s part of being an extrovert with a lot to say. Then I find myself meeting some of the most incredible people, but those friendships seem to slip away as time goes on and I find myself in a new location.
So this year, I’ve made a resolution to do a better job of keeping in touch with old friends. And I’m fully aware that I’ve made this resolution in the past, and that it’s a very common resolution, but I’ve made it measurable this year so I can hold myself to it. It sounds simple, but I’m holding myself to calling an old friend at least once a month. That’s 12 phone calls to good friends over the course of 365 days; if I can’t do that, that’s pretty pathetic. I even made myself a preliminary list of people I’d love to reach out to and hear from, to make the task seem a little less daunting.
Among the people on that list are some of the most devoted friends I’ve ever met, some are people I happened to meet who changed me for the better, some are people I never became that close to, but they touched me in one way or another. One of the people on the list, who I’ll keep anonymous, is a friend who I will never be able to thank enough for always remaining at my side. In high school, when I was really struggling with some health issues, I found myself losing friends because I wasn’t around enough. I was in and out of the hospital or home on medical leave, and in my absence, friendships evolved and I wasn’t there to keep up. It’s pretty terrible to think back on, but that’s high school I guess. At the same time, it makes the friends who did stick around all the more important in my life. This friend in particular was always there for me. She never gave up on me, and I can’t let a friend like that slip through the cracks of time and distance.
Another friend on the list is someone I met my senior year in college. I was with my roommate at a party, and we somehow ended up alone in a room with a freshman at the party to make some new friends. We introduced ourselves, and he was a bit shy; he seemed to think that because he was a freshman and we were seniors, he wasn’t worth our time. After a couple minutes of talking, we realized that I knew his older sister, who was a senior when I was a freshman. I remembered what a difference his sister had made in my life, taking time to be friends with a freshman. I ended up becoming close friends with this guy, making an effort to spend time with him whenever I could. To this day, he’s one of my closest friends. He’s one of the more fun people to hang out with, and I miss being in the same city as him. He’s the type of friend I’d never want to lose.
It’s friends like these who have really made a difference in my life. I owe it to myself, but even more so to those friends, to call them and hear about their lives. Even sitting here writing this post is reminding me what good friends I’ve found throughout my life. It’s something to be thankful for, and though it’s a bit sad that I have to use a new years resolution as a crutch and excuse to call these friends, it’ll make a difference in the end. Straight talk: be thankful for the good people in your life. Do something nice for them. Go the extra mile. And when the day comes that you’ll be moving in different directions, be sure to keep in touch with them.