It is so rare to find true friends. If you were born in the ’70s, 80’s, or 90’s, think back to how many friends you had growing up. Now link that to today. What type of correlation do you see?
Truth be told, lifelong friends are a rare commodity. Our experience sends us through many twists and turns. The stresses of life can make people numb, and living in a very individualistic culture automatically disconnects us. What are we to do?
I have thought much on this subject. Today, I truly have one best friend I call my brother. From the days of 8th grade, I remember it like it was yesterday. The year was 1996, October to be exact. My parents had just moved across town and I left all of my friends behind at Mineral Springs Middle School and transferred to Wiley. As a 13-year-old boy, I was crushed. I had so many friends at MSM, and to leave in the 8th grade? What were my parents thinking?
I distinctly remember it being mid-October. There was a slight crisp coolness in the air. As I rode on the vintage style school bus, I was a new teenager surrounded by fresh faces, scared to death. As the bus stopped and I walked off reluctantly, I heard a kid yell the F… word out of the window. This is my first day at my new school, I thought? I’m going to hate it here!
As I walked in, the school setup was completely different. In the mind of an 8th grader in the 90’s, I hated seeing the hallway crowded with students at their ivory white half lockers! I was used to the safe whole blue lockers of MCM! I mean come on, I can’t even get a whole locker? Look how inflated my backpack is? Those were my thoughts.
As I headed to my classes on my first day, I surprisingly met a few nice people that I hung on for dear life. After all, this was middle school. My identity was partially wrapped up in my associations. Sure they were nerds, but I didn’t care. They were nice!
Then a transition happened after lunch. I was apparently being watched by a group of kids. The “cool” clique. The kids wearing the Boss, Phat Farm, and Enyce shirts and jeans at that time. These kids were so cool, they listened to 2pac, Puff Daddy and Nas on their Sony Walkman’s and could rap all of the lyrics! They knew all of the latest entertainment news, gossip, and what happened on the last episode of any 90’s sitcom!
Somewhere between Mrs. Cunningham’s history class and Mrs. Nail’s math class, a young lady from “the cool kids” walked up to me and asked, “why didn’t you sit with us at lunch?” I had no answer for her, so I just shuddered. She said, “Well, you are welcome to sit with us tomorrow.” 🙂
What a pleasant surprise! I was so excited. Her friend that walked over with her smiled at me and I fell in teenage love (or in other words, infatuation). It ended up being short-lived though because she had a so-called “boyfriend” that went to another middle school. I hated him from a distance.
Then in Mrs. Cunningham’s class, I met my best friend Brandon! Have you ever met someone you just instantly clicked with? As we sat and joked about Mrs. C’s “bulldog-like” jaws and how to mean she was, every day we left class laughing. All throughout High School, Brandon and I developed a brotherhood. Everyone called him B for short. I caught on. We were great students grade-wise, but our conduct and candor were questionable.
We talked to many females, and had our fair share of rejections. Yet simply by the law of numbers, we had plenty of success stories with girls too. I am happy to say that myself and many members of the clique were cool all through high school, college, and beyond. 🙂
As the years rolled by, life happened. People got married, some got divorced, some got both like I did. People having children, some getting multiple degrees. Some working, some moving, some living a second childhood doing the same exact things they were doing in the ’90s.
B and I remained brothers. Fast forward to 2018. He and his wife have a beautiful family and home, living in the lush green hills of the great state of West Virginia. Me, my wife, and our 4 beautiful children live out in a rural area of North Carolina. Though it all, the secret formula behind lifelong friendship is easy. Give each other space and grace!
Space- Understand that life happens. Don’t be so immature if weeks or months go by and you don’t talk much. I appreciate the small text messages and calls. Give your friend(s) space to grow as people.
Grace- Understand that your friend(s) are human just like you. They need love, acceptance, and forgiveness too. Never be bitter, be quick to forgive. Don’t be selfish. Be humble and help them.
This is my experience. I hope that this helped somebody. We are all human. We are all trying to just figure out this thing we call “life”. Thank you for reading! I can say I know my brother Brandon thanks you too! Why? As my reader, just know that he is my co-administrator on http://www.vintageretroman.com. 🙂
New generation! Je’well, our youngest, with Brandon’s daughter Brailyn.
Signing off for now,