I lose track of people. I feel terrible about this. Or, I did until recently. I would have friends I'd made through one of my many part-time jobs through college or through one of my second jobs I had when Ryan went back to school. We'd see each other so often and get to know each other and then one of us would quit and after a few texts or emails.... nothing. There are also college friends, friends-of-friends, cubical mates who it seemed we really had a connection, but then when we didn't have to see each other every day the friendship just faded away. I used to feel guilty about it when something would remind me of one of these people, but I've really come to realize that's just the way life is. You are not going to be friends with all your friends for all your life.
But... the people I actually do keep up with.... I wish there were a word better than 'appreciate' for how I feel about them. I had a get-together tonight with four girls I grew up with. One, I've known since kindergarten, and the others we accumulated along the way. There is something about sitting in a room with people who knew you before you were who you are and the freedom to talk to them about anything and everything that is absolutely amazing. There is no pretending you don't have baggage. There is no embarrassment that you were completely wrong about how you thought your life would turn out. They knew you when you were an awkward adolescent and they liked you anyway. There is little you can do to shock or offend them. I wish everyone had that.
We don't see each other as often as we'd like. We all keep up with each other in varying degrees in the in-between times. We all have such different lives.... one single, one newlywed, two full-time moms, me.... so it might seem that memories would be the only things to unite us. That is surprisingly not the case. Sure, when we get together there are lots of "Oh yeah, I remember that... and then you...." conversations, but we also talk about now and what we're dealing with and our families and our frustrations and our successes. I love those girls.
I think tonight was a good reminder to me that there is a reason you keep up with some people. Not that those you lose track of are not great people or weren't good friends, but there has to be more to that bond than just showing up at the same place several times a week and having a few things in common. Keeping up with someone requires that you have created a place for them in your life outside of the circumstances of your meeting. Keeping up requires that you keep that place open for them regardless of how often or little you are able to see them. Keeping up with those people to whom you've granted one of those places is probably one of the best things you can do for yourself.