Winter Wanderlust Among Friends

It happens each year like clock-work. Right around this time I start getting antsy. Having been all but housebound for over a month, I feel like a caged animal, and woe to anyone caught behind the bars. To alleviate the matter, I tend to start traveling, as much as, and to anywhere, possible. This weekend that will bring me to Stormville, NY, to visit my friends Missy and Joe and their two-year-old boy Julian. Yes, another baby is on my horizon, but I’m told he’s gregarious and fun and likes to sing, so we have all that in common.

It’s been over a year since I visited them, which means it’s a year since I’ve been to the Woodbury Outlets. Sadly, I have not spent the ensuing time saving up any sort of money, so with any luck there will be a few good sales to offset such a lack of foresight and financial planning. All that is beside the point, as I really just need a relaxing weekend away with a couple of good friends – one of whom I’ve known since we were five.

That sort of lasting friendship is hard to come by, and I’m lucky to have a few such friends that have been with me through the decades. Those are the people who are family to me, the ones who survive distance and time to stick around for the long haul. So many of our friendships seem forged by proximity and convenience, employment and opportunity, FaceBook and Twitter – or simple circumstance. I’ve always demanded a bit more from my true friends, and like to think I’ve given just as much in return. It takes work to maintain a meaningful friendship with someone – work and effort and communication. The latter may seem easier in this day and age (I remember sending letters to all my friends when we were all at different colleges – and I still prefer a hand-written note to any e-mail or, worse, phone call) but that convenience is often an easy out. Luckily for me, the friends I’ve kept put the same effort and work into staying in touch as I do, and we all manage to see each other at some point or other during the year.

The older I get, and the more people that come and go in my life, the more I value the friends I’ve had for twenty, some even thirty, years. Those are the people around whom I can truly relax and be myself. Those are the people I don’t need to impress with fancy clothes or pricey bags or high-fashion shoes. That doesn’t mean I won’t put on a good show, but it does mean they wouldn’t mind if I didn’t.

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