Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Kindred Spirits

"A bosom friend-- an intimate friend, you know-- a really kindred spirit to whom I can confide my inmost soul. I've dreamed of meeting her all my life." -Anne of Green Gables

Friendship means different things to us at different times in our lives. From the six or seven "best friends" of a five-year-old to the "co-parenting" buddies of a young mother, friendships grow with us and adapt to where we are in life. When I was a teenager, I wanted to find that one true "best friend"-- someone who really knew, understood and appreciated me. This person would have all of the same interests and hobbies that I did. They would like the same music, the same movies and the same activities. They would share all of the same opinions on important issues. While I had many good and important friendships, I never found the "one" person who fit all of these things, so my teenager-ly brain figured that it must be because all of those qualities would come together in my true best friend and "one and only," my future spouse.

I created the rosy picture in my mind: he would love classical music and be a music major, just like I was. We would while away the evenings playing chamber music together (sigh! so romantic!). He would love classic literature and old movies and we would discuss books together. He wouldn't really care about sports (I certainly didn't) and we would ballroom dance together on all of our dates. We would share a refined life of art and culture and raise little musicians, just like us.

I still have yet to find that friend who is just like me in every respect. And (please control your shock) even my husband didn't turn out to be exactly like me --and (more shocking still) I married him anyway. Until they legalize human cloning my friends will probably always have just as many differences from me as similarities--thank goodness. The goal to find people just like me was overtaken by the desire to find people who complement me-- and that category is much, much more broad than I had originally supposed. While most of my good friends have several interests that overlap with mine, friendship has become more about appreciating each other than mirroring each other.

Rather than the literary music major I envisioned in my teenage fantasies, I married a sports-crazy chemical engineer. But our love and friendship changed me in ways that would never have occurred to my romantic, book-loving teenage self. Because of my husband I learned how to follow (and enjoy) a football game, I know random minutiae about designing and building semiconductors, I learned to downhill ski (and conquered a black diamond), and I've tried (and loved) sea kayaking, scuba diving, snorkeling and Beatles Rock Band. Because of me, my sports-maniac engineer husband has learned to enjoy opera, has a mean ear for choral and piano music, can rock a couple of cha-cha moves and appreciate a truly fine blue cheese. He still hates old movies. And whipped cream. But I can live with that.


Greek Goddess said...

It's late, so I'm just going to say Amen to that. I agree. I have much more to say, but it'll have to be another day. glad you're my friend!

Sherwood Triathlon said...

I totally get this post. I am always looking to find someone "exactly" like me, but if I did, we would probably drive each other nuts! I am grateful for good friends like you who bring out the best in me, help me learn new things, and appreciate my unique qualities. (That's a nice way of saying my weaknesses, right?)

Jadie said...

Love this post!