I would be fascinated to make contact with both these childhood girlfriends, but fear holds me back. How would they judge me? Would they ignore me or join me for a cup of coffee in a restaurant? I have an irrational fear that Girlfriend One is still angry even though it’s been half a century.
Isn’t it fascinating that our fears can cost us our potential? Yet, here’s also this:
During a long-distant high school reunion, I reconnected with my BFF from that time. She had long since married, divorced and remarried. Four kids. Still living in Florida not far from where we had grown up.
I took to visiting, and while there was a lot to appreciate about Patti’s life and her joy in her kids, we no longer had much in common. She was a homebody, wanted nothing more than to be a grammy. I couldn’t have been more different.
While those things initially didn’t get in the way, what eventually did were two things: her unfortunate habit of advising me based on the parameters of her life and her choices (which we all tend to do) and her refusal to do something that she said she desperately wanted to do, and asked my help to complete.
She had a grandfather who told her stories about a mystical creature called the Gillygalloo. Not only was this charming, but she and I grew up with these stories. She asked my help in writing them down, and not long in the future she would have grand kids. What a gift, to have a book to hand down.
I had just published two books. Threw myself into giving her the resources. She did nothing. The grands came. Now she’s too busy.
We lost touch because the grands took up too much time and when she wasn’t with them, she was with her hubby.
Some years ago I wrote a Facebook post around a meme that had gone viral. It spoke to the regrets that people have on their deathbeds. She commented angrily on it, accusing me of having lots of funds (nothing could be further from the truth) and implying that everyone should live like I do (ditto).
I did my best to respond politely, but she was incensed. I know this got her right in the feels, because she refused to write the book, for which she is uniquely qualified. She just won’t do it, and now she’s mad at me. Not my problem. She’s not my friend any more either.
The Gillygaloo will die with Patti. Sometimes this happens. Friends can end up hating you for living a life they wanted to live, or thinking that because you are, you are judging them unfairly. Nope. If Patti doesn’t want to write, that’s her choice. I have no feelings about that one way or the other, only if she ends up regretting it on her deathbed.
What I am sorry about is that she has not evolved to the point where she understands that it’s not always about her. That making unfair assumptions about the nature of others’ lives can cost friendships.
I hope you do look up your old buddies. Shared history has a way of grounding us. We may not hold onto those friends, but there is huge validation in having folks validating how far we’ve come (or not).