An Ode to Old Friends

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When I was a boy, I had a friend who was willing to accompany me on whatever weird imaginary adventure I wanted to go on. I have no doubt that he, at times, had to have wondered what kind of world I was living in. I’m still trying to figure that out myself. But he was always game for some kind of good time, whether it be in the pool, shooting baskets out front, or pretending we were knights (a favorite activity of mine)

He lived less than a block away, we were in Cub Scouts together, and we spent some formative years as close friends. We were in Boy Scouts and High School together too, but as we got older, we grew apart. No arguments, fights, or negative feelings, just different interests, new paths, and changing experiences. I’m told this happens to a lot of boys when they grow up. Still, even after we grew apart, he always had a kind word when I ran into him. We always had a friendly chat. I can’t speak for him, but I always thought well of him, and wished him the best, even when we moved on to college and never really saw or spoke to each other again. Eventually Facebook became a thing, and we added each other, exchanged some friendly comments, liked some of one another’s photos, and shared a post here or there. There have been a lot of times I’ve thought about writing him a message just to strike up a conversation, to see how he’s been, and how is family is doing. But I’ve just never gotten around to it.

I bring this up because I recently learned that he passed away following an automobile accident. My heart goes out to his family, his wife, his children. Though we had grown apart long ago, he had been a good friend to me and I have no doubt he had grown into good man. Now I think about those messages I always meant to send; we always think there will be time to make a call, or send an e-mail tomorrow, the next day, or the day after, but so often we never do. His life was cut far too short, and my e-mail remains unsent. It’s a regret that comes with a lesson; don’t hesitate to get a hold of old friends. You never know when you may get the next opportunity. Or when you might not.

I’m incredibly sad to hear of my friend’s passing, despite the years since our imaginary childhood adventures together. My heart goes out to his family and loved ones. There is little sense to be made of situations like this one. But I hope to honor my old friend by remembering the good times we had as children, our bike rides, and our adventures both imaginary and real. I will let my friend’s passing serve as a reminder to lead a good life. There is no way of knowing what could come next in our lives, but if we want to be adventurers, we must not squander the life we’ve been given. We must live as fully as we can, right now, drinking in life like mana from the world around us. We must find the adventure in our daily life, and make the most of every experience.

Tomorrow is a new day. Let’s make the most of it.

Rest well, old friend. 

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