Friday, November 20, 2015
Lunch with a Friend
I met N by happenstance about 10 years ago when we both had peripheral roles on a community project. The project never took off, but parts were absorbed into a bigger initiative. While we never really worked together, we connected on a professional and a personal level almost instantaneously. We started inviting each other to events that were "social professional" such as speaking events with a social hour or fundraising luncheons, and would meet periodically just for career and life check-ins. We just get each other. We have positions now in the public sector that are opposite sides of the same coin-counterparts in two different agencies. For the kind of "smarts" I value most in my daily life, she is probably the smartest person I know.
Our youngest kids are about the same age, but she is now just navigating the college selection world with her oldest. We talked about this, she knowing I've helped two kids brave this world already. N has just returned to work six weeks after a particularly rough health patch. I've been worried for so long about her and she looked healthier than I have seen her look in a while. I am feeling very thankful that she is back on her feet, back to being my colleague. But even more so, I'm thankful that we could connect for 75 minutes over soup and a sandwich and figure out life together. I've learned friends can be found when I might least be looking for them, but once found, the friendship needs care and at times, literally feeding.
It's probably conventional wisdom to assume that since I am turning 50, a great deal of my friends are also having milestone birthdays this year as well. We have a few parties on the calendar, a surprise party for tomorrow night. I am happy to celebrate with them all, but I have expressed decidedly for me, "no party." I would be very happy though to have an endless calendar of one to one or maybe even three and fours, lunch connections stretching throughout my 50th year. There is something energizing to me about breaking up my day to day routine with a good friends.