Friends Close By and Far Away

So I’ve travelled a bit. For a short while or for a few years, I’ve tried hard to meet new people and get new experiences. Some of them were duds, some of them left some scars, but, most importantly, some proven to be true diamonds.

First of all, there are people REALLY far away: across the ocean(s), in places without technology or with wildly different time zone or life style. It doesn’t have to be a physical distance but if, say, I work time-honoured 9–5 and someone is working part-time job based on dynamic shifts it may be difficult to set up even semi-regular meetings and even more difficult to be in the same state of mind during such a meeting (both relaxed and in socializing mood etc.).

The same goes with one of the sharpest lines of division among my friends now — having children. I’m definitely not against having children, au contraire, I want to have two or three of them. Yet, their appearance has a tendency to completely change one’s way of life and spending of their free time (not to mention the amount of it).

Then there are closer friends, both geographically and mentally. Maybe they are in the UK or in another town here in Poland, maybe they are also at their first or second ‘real job’, trying to figure out this life, relationships, career, etc. Some of them are like comets, appearing in my life for a short time and then disappearing — and some have been there for the past ten years.

These people remind me that I’m not the only one faced with various challenge of being a, to recall my first blogpost, “twenty-something in the middle of Europe”.

And, by all that’s good and holy, how much I need that reminder on some days.

They also provide viewpoints completely unique from my own and challenge, well, depending on a person, almost all of my views — be them political, economical, social… Generally, everything that is required not to fall into a convenient conviction (dear Reader, I admit, I have a weakness for alliterations and similar) of being a bearer of one and only Truth.

Anyway, back to various kinds of friendships. Final category are the people closest to me, not necessarily in the geographical sense —listing from the top of my head, three of them are indeed in Warsaw, but another one is in Brussels and two more are on British Isles.

Despite the distance, these people are the ones I trust the most with one important thing: not disappearing. And no, it’s not a callback to some old trauma in my life — it’s a sign of the times. During past, let’s say, ten years, I’ve changed schools, levels of educations, cities, countries, and continents, jobs, lifegoals, and partners. There was a flurry of people, sometimes very close, coming and going.

But it was also a very good crucible of such friendships. Some of the people I call closest at the moments are completely unexpected — one of them I actually met by accident (no free table at a press centre cafeteria). Yet they are people I know I can call or write to with a totally random thought and they would get it. We are there for each other and there’s that.

Would I prefer these friendships to be, like in the good days of yore, in the same town, social circle, etc.? It would certainly be more convenient on many levels but no — the distance between us, while annoying is not that great in the modern Europe.

Emails, facebook and Skype — none of them are perfect, none of them are able to fully replace a meeting face to face but still allowing for keeping up-to-date with each other almost casually. No significant delays, no significant costs (especially with a free wi-fi access beginning to be treated like a public service even here, at the banks of Vistula). Once I’ve even had a long-distance RPG session with one of the players being with us only via Skype — and the main annoyance was that we couldn’t throw a ball at them.

Flights are getting cheaper — but with me and most of my friend being in their twenties, the issue is time. Most of us don’t get that many days off work (if any), the relationships are entering more serious phase with some us learning the basics of time-sharing and responsibilities sharing…

But we stay in touch. We find new ways, we scrape few hours to chat, to travel, to be with each other. Sometimes it’s once a day, sometimes — once a month. But people are what make this life interesting for me — and I don’t plan to give up on them anytime soon.

So to friends old and new, far and near — thank you for being here and here’s to many, many years of shared memories and good stories to tell!

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