I had a fun time in Kansas City last night with justamy. The conversation was interesting and the company pleasant as always. I was thinking about the nature of our relationship yesterday and it occured to me that she is my longest, continual adult friend. For a long time, I had difficulty maintaining friendships - it's just not something I do very well, especially when I'm not in forced proximity. When you see someone every day due to your employment, affiliations, or living arrangments, friendships naturally form and flourish. I have always had a bad habit of not maintaining them very well when something would occur to disrupt the ease of interaction (someone moves, a change of jobs, etc). I first met Amy about 8 years ago on EfNet in a chatroom with which we were both affiliated. Actually, a good deal of people on my LJ friend's list came from the days of #mp3indie, either past or present (ruxxell, lossfound, refused_, ugggh, sinatra, hazlewood, brokenhead81)... but my friendship with justamy endured through the years when we WEREN'T active on IRC or Livejournal.
And all of this is what makes my friendship with Amy so remarkable to me. She is arguably one of my oldest and dearest friends and our friendship grew in spite of the distance between us. Only in the past few months since I have begun training have I been afforded the opportunity to have frequent visits to her home town. And it is also this relationship with Amy that has made me become a better friend, not only to her, but to everyone in my life. I don't have many "close" friends, just because that's the way I'm wired. But the ones I do have, I have begun making that effort to maintain those connections... my pal Robin, an ex-girlfriend who I count as my best friend; Kevin, who I have known in professional and personal capacities off and on for the past 13 years, we have managed to keep in touch since our last round of mutual places of employment. And I've also begun rekindling old friendships, like recently with fujerica, through whom I may resume some others as well. Or with drummerville, whose brother I was very good friends with at one point, but due to my laziness let slip away when keeping in-touch became too difficult. And of course there are the new friends: late night chats and weekend getaways with atthestarz, plane rides with hockeyfag, bar crawling with democritus and psycat90, coffee dates with spleazeball, eating strange foods with mandy_moon, trips to New York with draysha68 and janietrain, and movie watching and random phone calls from sparklymegz.
I guess I always thought that if the other person didn't share in the responsibility of maintaining the friendship when it became more difficult to sustain that it was some sort of signal that it was time to exit that relationship. No hard feelings or anything, just time to let it slip away and move on. But what I've learned is that while it is a two-way street, sometimes one person has to do the bulk of the work for a while because the other person may not be able to for periods of time and sometimes those roles may reverse. Friendships are organic in that they go to whatever level they go to naturally, but like anything organic, they take some attention and care to remain viable. I hadn't really planned on this entry becoming what it has, but I guess I'm just thankful for the many friendships I have and I cherish each and every one of them. Regardless of depths and strengths of the them individually, as a whole it is the thing I prize most in life and something for which I am extremely thankful and grateful.