Monday, January 21, 2008

Old friends, new friends or just friends?

I've just come back from Winnipeg. I went there to help my mother celebrate her 94th birthday. That in itself is something to write about in a blog but I will save that for another entry.

While I was in Winnipeg I spent time with some friends - two of them I have known virtually all my life. We spent the usual time catching up about what has happened since we saw each other last, how our kids are doing, etc.

I am always amazed at how easy it is to talk to friends like these - within minutes it feels like I have never been away from them.

Yet I have been away from Winnipeg since 1976 - a lot has happened in the last 32 years. These friends participated in the early days of my marriage but they missed my graduate work, my children being born and growing up, my job, etc., etc.

When I come back to Regina I have to reorient myself to my 'new friends.' Well, new only in the sense that they came after my 'old friends' from my childhood. Many of these are people that I have known since coming to Regina. I know their children well. I have participated in holidays and traditions with them. I have been close in times of joy and times of pain. They are very immediate friends.

So what's better - the old friends that know where I came from and what I was before I became Dr. Cyril Kesten? or the new friends that know me as a father, husband, colleague and professor?

For many years I believed that it was only the old friends that mattered.

For some years I believed that it was only the new friends that mattered.

Maybe maturity or age has intervened but I see the value in both sets now. I enjoy the familiarity and comfort and shared 'ancient history' I feel when I am with my old friends. But I also enjoy and appreciate the immediacy, intimacy, support and shared 'current history' with my new friends.

I am glad to have both sets - they all make me a lucky man



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