I ran into an old friend today. Quite literally. I had not seen him in over a year. We crossed paths on a boardwalk in a surreal moment of chance. We both performed a double and then a triple take to ensure that we were both indeed seeing the same thing. The encounter brought a smile and then a laugh. We greeted each other and began a conversation as if we had run into each other just yesterday in the exact same spot.
He and I have known each other for almost twenty-one years. I can’t begin to describe how difficult it is to type out that length of time. It doesn’t seem possible. It seems like last month we were playing youth lacrosse together, and just last week that we were roommates in an apartment near St. Mary’s College. Oh, the memories. The ups and downs of decades of friendship. Life sometimes seems like the rides at county fairs that spin and pass other cars for their duration.
You’re both spinning frantically about, in a massive amusement park. You part ways and sample all the park has to offer. You spend a little bit of time apart in different areas of the park. You ride different rides and sample preferential foods and drinks. Then you pass each other and catch up. You may even grab some food or a ride together before carrying on your separate way.
Some times you will both find aspects of the park that seem ideal and you will not see each other for a long time. You will stay on certain rides in certain areas of the park for years and years. One day, on purpose, or by chance, you will run into each other again. Old friends are like that. You both understand that life pulls everyone into their own unique situations, but, no matter what, you will always be able to find common ground.
You will always have those unbroken ties of friendship that are bound by time, promises, oaths, plans, and activities that cannot be undone. So much has been invested into the relationship by both parties, that there is an unspoken bond that has formed with the passing of time. There are very few people who I would drive 500 miles for, but the friend I ran into today is one of them. Some of my most cherished memories are intertwined with him in some way, shape, or form. I would not be the man I am today without him, and I am sure the same is true for him. I am so grateful that I was able to see him again. You never know when people come into or out of your life.
Make sure to stay present in every moment, and with whoever you are surrounded by. Time is like a flowing river, in the sense that we will never feel the same water ever again after it passes. We must continually seek to be fully present in each and every moment. The good and the bad. We must fully immerse ourselves into the deepest depths of experiences. Maximize our sensations in order to someday bypass them, with the complete understanding that they are all one and the same in this infinitely variable symphony of life. Tell the people that you love that you truly do today. You never know…this might be the last chance you get to. Onwards and upwards. – Taylor Richard Cook