I've had a few. Every one was such an exciting event. Each one was a different chapter of my life. Each chapter has different goals and acquaintances. Ironically, I'm finding that true friends stick and appear in every chapter of your life. I hope you have them.
Let's think of those childhood friends. Childhood friends are those friends who you find yourself with and have adventures that are unforgettable without ever leaving your neighborhood. I remember wading ditches and going on hikes into the woods. Encountering wildcats, snakes, and skunks tripping over barbed wire fences and running for our lives. We walked what seemed to be miles discovering tributaries and eventually rivers: the Forked-Deer to be exact. We had summers jumping on the trampoline under the water sprinkler. We rode mopeds, three wheelers, motorcycles, and go-carts from sun up to sundown.
The next are friends who are part of our reckless youth. You begin driving and venturing out of said "hood." You feel invincible. Concerts and all of the "jackassery" that those entailed even now make me laugh. We had bon fires in fields and once even picked up a wild raccoon to join the party. I remember senior skip day at the river. Some of us barely made it back to school Monday alive. That's our crazy mindset at that age. It's so scary to look back and I'm sad to say some didn't make it out alive during these years.
Then comes our college or after high school years. A lot of our friends didn't have the gift of going to college and that's okay because we each have a purpose and course of direction. True friends always pick up where they left off when they meet again. If we go to college, these friends on our timeline are our college buds. The freedom you have those first two years of college is like high school 2.0. After much to our chagrin, we have to come to our senses and get a degree or a job. These friends help us enter the adult and real world. They are the friends that our morals and values tend to mirror or we figure out they need to repel. We start the great adventure of jobs, careers, and creating families. Some friends start working right out of high school and begin the family adventure sooner than some. Face it. Some college friends become stunted by addictions and have to workout the kinks before adulthood can begin. Sometimes they never grow up and it is a total mess. It happens.
When you hit the mid-life, our friend set changes by our children's friends' parents. Their activities and interests drive those people whom we are around. Usually not by choice but we find some friends to pal with throughout these years. Some stick and become lifelong friends.
By our retirement years, many friends have moved away or died. You tend to still have a set of buds to banter with at the local Mc. Donald's in the wee morning hours. Talking about the "Glory Days" and how the world is going to hell in a hand basket as we sip our senior coffees. We may live in retirement homes or communities and alas more friends.
Let's bring it full circle. Life is full of graduations, weddings, retirements, and funerals. How so lonely would those chapters be without friends? True friends are truly priceless. So at these events, look around and smile. Life is about relationships and I hope you are so grateful for each one. So go and make a million friends. You will have them for reasons and seasons. If you are blessed, you will find those one in a million friends who are friends for life. I've been so blessed. I married one of my best friends ever and have so many dear friends. Happy, happy graduation to you Class of 2016. Don't blink.