Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Old friends

Life is change, right? That's what they say. In Chinese medicine it is believed that change is so intrinsic to being human, if nothing changes, disease will result. It's interesting to think about. People who sit around all day become lethargic and unable to move even if they decide to do so. Neuroscientists believe if we think the same thoughts, follow the same routes and do the same work every day, our brains will lose plasticity. Neuroscientists are on board now with Chinese medicine. That makes me smile.

Some people make changes because they can't sit still for five minutes. I'm talking about a hefty percentage of the relentless go-getters and ambitious citizens of the District. I know DC isn't the only place where people get into a loop of go-go-go. Impatience is a sign of anxiety. It's not balanced and is not what the neuroscientists are talking about.

I'm a creature of habit and yet I tilt into change, at least I did earlier in life. Not so much an adventurer, I think one of the reasons I was always moving to a new city or starting a new career or shifting relationships when I was younger is because I didn't have an ability to tolerate sameness. I learned tolerance and resilience rather late in life. I might never have learned at all! Thank goodness for psychotherapy, life experience, meditation every day - and who knows what else!

I'm thinking about it this morning because I had dinner last night with an old friend. We met in 1980 and have been friends ever since. Last night we were reflecting on all the different phases of our friendship. We are not exactly compatible for many reasons that are no one's fault. Those incompatabilities used to create a lot of friction between us. Over time, the sharp edges have mellowed. At last we've settled into a benevolent tolerance of each other's quirks that makes a deep friendship possible. I have no doubt we will be friends until the day we die.

He is not my closest friend, I should say, and we have not harbored romantic feelings for each other for decades. We have a comfortable, radical acceptance of our heart connection in spite of our differences. Earlier in life I would not have been able to comprehend this kind of connection. It is yet one more aspect of aging that I appreciate.

Have a wonderful Wednesday. Shalom.


Lynne said...

How wonderful that you've had your differences over the years but still remain friends and that you've learned to accept each other for what the other person brings to the relationship, warts and all. Lovely!

And speaking of lovely, is that *your* fig tree? I think it's kind of strange that this morning on my blog I posted a photo of the first tiny fig on my fig tree. Coincidence?

Reya Mellicker said...

Not my fig tree! But it's lovely isn't it?

Love being on a wavelength with you, Lynne.

Angela said...

No one is quite like us, and if we`d expect sameness and total compatibility, we`d have no friends. But just all the different extras that a friend has to offer makes all his charm, doesn`t it? In Chemistry class I always liked to look at those pictures of molecules with their little feet sticking out.
They offered attachment, and those who had similar structures could get hold of the "feet". (I know this is NOT the scientific explanation, but it was my way of looking at them). I also cherish old friends. But new ones are welcome, especially if they have quirks!

Steve Reed said...

A mellowing of old connections -- those that survive youth, anyway -- is indeed one of the pleasures of aging.

Val said...

i am with Angela - i love all the differences in everyone and this amazing randomness that finally defines what we do and who we know. its magical and extraordinary to think about - as your blog so often is