I had such a lovely day yesterday. A friend I have known from when I was a teenager in Belfast has travelled over from America on business and we were able to meet up for Sunday lunch. It is so lovely to get together with someone after many years of communicating only electronically. The few hours that we spent together passed too quickly; I love it that there are some friends who it feels so natural to be with.
This friend was part of the large group of teenagers that I hung out with through my late teens and early twenties. He lived nearby and attended the same university as me, doing the same primary degree course, but a year ahead. His career has always sounded much more interesting than mine though. He worked at the ever fascinating CERN on the Franco–Swiss border in the nineteen eighties, during which time I managed to travel out to see him. He showed me, amongst other things, the delights of Chamonix in the summer and the spectacle of the Grand Fireworks Display at the Fêtes de Genève. I travelled extensively at that time but these still stand out as highlights.
I must have spoken at some length about this friend over the years as my children were also eager to meet him, especially my youngest who is interested in pursuing a career in IT. The last time he visited they were very young and remember only his tales of bears in his back yard and the other fierce sounding wildlife that he had encountered. It was a delight yesterday to see them all interacting so well and talking technology with a knowledge that now eludes me. It is no wonder that my children find it hard to imagine that I ever held down a well paid job when I see how advanced their understanding is in comparison to mine.
I was, however, grateful that my children had agreed to eat separately from the adults as I wanted to have my friend’s attention to myself for a few of the hours that we had together. When opportunities to meet up are so rare they must be made the most of. I have managed to keep in touch with a number of friends from my youth, mainly through Facebook, but face to face meetings are few and far between. I guess it says something of our mutual desire to get together that we take the opportunity when it presents itself.
All friends should be valued, but there is something particularly precious about the shared memories and acquaintances of old friends. They have chosen to remain in touch over so many years; they have accepted the inevitable changes that occur as time passes and life experiences alter our perceptions; it is possible to get together after years apart and find conversation flows naturally and freely with no effort required. Time spent together brings such pleasure and satisfaction.
I have chosen to spend today working around my house and garden to savour the positive mood yesterday has put me in. Too often I feel that I rush around, allowing myself to be sucked into feelings of concern or self doubt; to pick up on negative comments or perceptions and apply them too personally. I demand more of myself than it is possible to achieve and then fight the feelings of failure. Yesterday I had, quite simply, a lovely time. I am going to allow myself to appreciate that pleasure; to bathe in the afterglow of a very enjoyable day.
Chamonix, July 1988