“No…Darling, you’re 23,” my mum says, as easily as she can broach the obvious truth.
I’m 23. Growing up this was my dream age, and it has just come around so fast. I’m bang in the middle of leaving school and our ten-year reunion, where movies tell us we have to have something to show for our lives lived in the decade.
I’ve been looking after 8 year old twins recently and they’ve been telling me all about their best friends. The little girl Astrid told me when she grows up, her and her best friend Liza are going to live together. Gabriel, her brother, plans on opening a restaurant with Jake (He has also had the same girlfriend Connie since he was 2). When you’re that young, your life feels infinite, your friendships really feel like they’ll last forever. And some friendships do. This year, I was a bridesmaid at my oldest friend’s wedding in Australia. It was an unbelievably emotional experience. Nothing could have prepared me for seeing her in her dress. She looked stunning. She looked like a woman, when in my head we’re still seven years old running after her puppy. Safe to say, I cried for the majority of the day. It was wonderful to see her so happy and fulfilled. It was also a melancholic reminder that childhood had come to an end…
Time highlights the people in your life that stick. There are times when friendships have been severed, and I felt more heartbroken than I ever have with a boyfriend. It has been a hard thing to accept that some people just pass through your lives and disappear again. I feel very privileged to still have a core group of friends from school five years on who I would do anything for, and I know the same feelings are returned. They have become my base, my family. So when I flew to San Francisco in 2010 for a year at Berkeley, the thought was terrifying. Could I make any friends? Or would I die of loneliness, and in the words of Bridget Jones, be eaten by Alsatians. This blog exists because of the friendships forged there. While we are scattered across three continents trying to make futures for ourselves, this simple little bond keeps us connected. And skype of course. And WhatsApp, email, Facebook. It’s very hard to imagine just what people did before these kinds of revolutionary technology. My mum still has a box of love letters my father wrote her before I was born. They were written over six weeks when my father had gone home to Africa, and it was the first time they’d been separated. Of course, it does make me sad that the tradition of love letters seems to have come to an end. The immediacy of technology keeps us up to date with our friend’s lives in a way our parent’s generation could never have imagined. As Elaine said, yesterday we skyped. Tanzania to London. And it still amazes me. We could be there for each other in a moment of need across thousands of miles. While Facebook keeps people present in our minds that we might never bump into again, it has really allowed me to feel part of my friends worlds no matter how far away they may be. But nothing can beat meeting in the flesh. With unemployment and starting salaries, who knows when or even where we’ll all be able to be together again. But, for now, we’ll settle for Skype cocktails.