You know you have lived a long time when you hear from someone who has been lost in decades of moves, changes, marriages, and life.
But, lo and behold, I received a letter from an old friend this week, someone I haven’t heard from since 1967. Or was it 1968? Anyway, 40+ years of living have separated us, and it was a shock to my system to hear he was alive and well. How did he find me? Google, of course. He said he put in my name and picture, and then waded through page after page of pictures of people with my name.
I’m flattered that he was able to pick out my picture, which he found on a website for a non-profit organization where I serve. Not certain if it was my picture or some bit of my family history that helped identify me. I would like to think it was the picture. Surely I haven’t changed in 40 years! Oh, please!
Also amazing is that he recognized me without hearing my unique laugh. My guffaw has been part of me since I was a child, although no one but my late husband ever had the courage to name it. He described it as sounding like a demented truck driver. Of course, he did it in full kindness.
It was delightful to connect with this long ago memory, and to hear of his adventures since we last parted. He’s been far and wide and he’s had ups and downs. And surprisingly, he has made some major philosophical changes.
When I told my sister about his letter, she asked if he was in jail or on Wall Street. She felt certain it would be one or the other, since his expressed goal was to be a millionaire by the age of 30. The last I saw him he was well on his way to achieving that.
I asked him about that desire and if he had made it. He had, then gave it all up, because he learned it didn’t bring him the satisfaction he had thought it would. Instead, he moved to a hollow in the mountains of Tennessee, living for several years with his wife and daughters in a cabin without running water, and discovering a simple life is really quite fulfilling and gratifying.
As he explained his transformation, he said he found what we all usually find: our connection to others is far more rewarding than our connection to money. That does make me feel better since I thought I was just telling myself that because I never have had much connection to or with the mighty green stuff!
Perhaps if I ever find myself rolling in dough I’ll learn firsthand that the pedestal we build for cash and power, is really pretty shaky and short lived compared to friendships that last through the decades. Thank goodness for friends…old and new.