I have always been fortunate to be the kind of person who makes friends easily. Regardless of the situation in which I find myself, I always find one or more kindred spirits with whom I can socialize. Some of my friends, in fact, refer to me as a “social butterfly,” whatever that means! On a recent work related trip to Tallahassee, Florida, I had a rare opportunity in my schedule that allowed me to spend time with not one, not two, but three long time friends. Upon returning home to south Florida, I reflected on the fact that one of my long time friends with whom I had the pleasure of visiting, Jan, is someone I have known since elementary school. Another of the friends with whom I visited was Bob (or Bobby, as he is now called, thanks to his long time residence in the same city as a famous Bobby, Bobby Bowden), a dear friend since high school. And, the last friend with whom I visited while in Tallahassee, Jack, is certainly not the least. I have known Jack since I was in graduate school. Not only is Jack my wonderful friend; he was my major professor, my mentor, and an all important presence in my life from my first day of graduate school until the present time. Interestingly, upon further reflection, I realized there were eight years separating my meeting each of these friends; what now seems like an eternity ago was, in fact, a relatively brief time in my existence. Although I am not in touch with Jan or Bob to the extent I am with Jack, the close bonds we established in childhood are still there. I have no doubt I could ask any of these three friends for advice, help, or just about anything and they would be there for me, no questions asked. I am still as adept at making friends as I ever was, but somehow, these “old” friends are more special with every passing year. Thanks, friends, for the memories! I look forward to many more!
I am fortunate to have met these Tallahassee people and get to know them to varying degrees. (And, I’ve met many of Melissa’s friends in, or from, Fort Myers in various other places as well.) I’ll say Melissa is fortunate to know them, and they, her. Good friendships are like that – two way streets. And, it is wonderful that our lives today take us places that allow these friendships to be maintained with time spent together. We’ve written about how owning the business has perks. One of these perks is controlling, at least to some degree, our travel schedule such that we can build in visits with friends, and family, on some of the trips. I try, as does Melissa, to find time for such visits, because these opportunities are important to being rooted in life. And, because, the passage of time takes a toll, we may have limited opportunities in life to make these connections. Waiting to be retired and then travel or visit may be too late. Building it into our schedule makes things happen in the now, avoiding regrets for not making it happen. Clearly, some relationships are easier to maintain than others. But, keeping in touch with long time friends should be easier than ever. Whether in person or in virtual ways, like texting or social media, make it happen.