Decades-long friendships: the wine of intimacy

by John Schuster on October 31, 2018

in Uncategorized

One of the oft-cited advantages of being in later life is an abundance of friends and relationships, forming themselves into satisfying constellations, that add so much to the quality of life. The opposite, isolation, is a scourge of aging for some who are shut in or endure tough circumstances, so the very relationship riches for some are a stark contrast to the relational poverty of others.

In my life, I am blessed with constellations of various endearing friends, from tennis buddies to work colleagues to couples friends, to card-playing friends, church chums, and some neighbors too. All these friends add dimensions of care and fun and shared enjoyment for me: some for just me and some for me and my best friend, my wife Patricia. Some are new friends (one tip for the later years journey I have already mentioned: take the time and have the curiosity to make new friends in later age—new friends will keep you re”juvenated” in the life you have built over the decades.)

Me, my cousins, wife and younger sister (and spouses) NYC Oct 2018

Me, those same cousins, and older sister (me lower left)
in Dubuque Iowa in the 50’s

But I want to pay tribute to old friends, life-long friends, or long-term friends at the least, because of the gift that they become over the years. New friends are great but in the words of John Lennon in the beautiful Beatles’ song on remembrance over a lifetime, In My Life

“…these memories lose their meaning when I think of love as something new
Oh I know I’ll always have affection for people and things that went before
Yes I know I’ll often stop and think about them,
In my life, I loved you more

So we feel good when leaving a special place in our hearts for the old friends, somehow “loving them more.” This special love-more heart chamber can be unlocked only by those you have known and loved for many decades. That love ages like a good wine and becomes a source of blessedness beyond compare.

The pictures of such friends are above, they also happen to be my older cousins who joined me and on my birthday in NYC recently. Our picture as kids in Dubuque Iowa sometimes in the 50’s is the one beneath it.

And without pictures I want to mention by name those who have made my life more worthwhile because of their long friendship: Joe Vacanti and Tom Hoarty and Johnny Seminara from gradeschool, Ace Evans and Bill Richards and Mike Barrett from highschool, Dave Quammen and Marc Young and Bill Koffel and Mark Splain and more from college, Kelly Gerling and Anne Power from my 20’s and Howie Ames and Pam McLean from my 30’s. All of these souls, and some I have probably forgotten, I have known for over 30 years.

Thank you, friends, for years of one of life’s great gifts.

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