“Friendship is weird. You pick a human you’ve met and you’re like, ‘Yup. I like this one,’ and you just do stuff with them.”

I’ve been thinking a lot about friendship lately. For a number reasons.

I don’t make friends very easily. I have been a somewhat awkward person since, best as I can tell, Grade 4.

Man, Grade 4 was a rough and weird year. That was a strange year because it seemed all my JK-3 friends simply fell away. Obviously, since that was way back in 1995-1996, I can’t think back and figure out what the heck happened, but I do remember that was the time when I somehow got saddled with the ‘loner’ label. It sucked.

High school was a much better experience, as I managed to acquire friends again. We hung out away from school. We did projects together, actually choosing to work with each other (mostly). We had the band trips to Europe to cement our relationships.

Since high school ended, I have lost touch with many of my high school ‘friends,’ because I have to put ‘friends’ in quotes. I was willing to keep in touch, but it’s pretty clear many of them did not.

And you know what? I don’t really care. I was thinking about how I’ve lost touch with them since we all graduated, and I realized I knew them for four years, and I’ve been out of high school now for nearly 11 years. Not to say good riddance, or anything like that, but when we’ve been apart for nearly three times as long as we were together, clearly it’s time to let that go. We’re just people who were friends who had circumstances separate us. It happens.

But then there are the friends from high school, and university, with whom I am still friends. The high school crew (ugh, why did I use that word) are the ones I did my OAC year with (fifth year, Victory Lap, Grade 13, whatever). We were the remaining group and we were a clique.

But even then, the fissures are starting to show. A few have dropped off (well, dropped off right after graduation), while others held on for a lot of my time out here in Alberta. Even then, I’m realizing a bunch of us are gradually going our separate ways, to the point where I am not entirely sure I want to make the effort to meet up the next time I’m back in the T.Dot. And, truthfully, that makes me sad. I know it can’t be helped, as people change and time marches on, but you never really want to set aside a part of your past.

I seem to have rambled along for a while here. It happens.

I suppose the crux of what I was thinking when I thought about this post is the friends I have, the ones who have a history dating back various numbers of years, from almost 26 years, to nearly 16 years, to approximately 11 years, and one who will be eight years in September, another that is probably (and I still think inexplicably) at seven years, and one that hasn’t even hit its first birthday (such a young’un!).

How have I kept these friendships alive? How am I friends with these people? This is not to say I’m unhappy to have friends of these varied ages and experiences — I’m incredibly grateful. These are people who have put up with my BS, my insecurities, my quasi nagging, and my utter stupidity. How can I ever show true appreciation for them sticking by me?

I don’t think I can.

Each of these people means something different to me, while at the same time they all mean the same to me. They have kept me grounded. They have cheered me up with their sometimes random messages. I have lived vicariously through them, as I truly have a boring life at the moment.

So to my friends who read this, thank you!

To my enemies, I say this: what are you doing here?