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On Finding Happiness – Old Friends

Old friends. We think about them often. We think about all of the special times we shared together. Old friends are special. They helped to make our lives special in some very meaningful ways. It can be hard to isolate the exact memories that made them special but we know deep down that they are there. Whether it be running through the streets drunk having the time of our lives or rollerblading up the Northshore under the warmth of the sunshine, old friends have a special place in our hearts and precise traces to our childhoods.

As we grow older and our lives change in dramatic and dynamic ways, we feel the urge and are drawn to reconnect with them. Sometimes this happens naturally through wedding announcements and wedding invitations and other times it is a direct action by one friend to communicate with another friend (i.e. – picking up the phone and making a very important phone call).

It’s not always easy to pick up the phone and make a direct contact to an old friend because we don’t know how their lives have changed. We don’t know how they’re feeling and to a degree we don’t really know who they are anymore. People change. People’s feelings change. And sometimes our old friends, whether we like it or not, may not like us anymore or have anything in common with us anymore. It’s nothing to worry about too much. It’s just life. This reality, however, should not discourage you as a confident human being to pick up the phone to see how things are going in the life of an old friend.

I have many old friends. Most of them I don’t communicate with much at all anymore. It’s not that we don’t like each other anymore or have anything to talk about. It’s just that our lives have changed in very dramatic ways and we are busy doing our own things.

For instance, one of my very best friends from grade school now lives in Germany with this wife and very young daughter. He has been living in Germany for 7 years and has no intention to come back to Canada at all. He’s happy in his career as a project manager and the distance between us is great. Is it that we don’t have time for each other anymore? No. In fact, a bunch of our old high school chums got together this past summer for a round of golf. And my friend from Germany, Matt, was part of the golfing group. We had some beers, a few laughs and caught up on each other’s lives; asking about each other’s family, new friends and how childrearing is going in a different country thousands of miles away from any immediate family. After this, we all went our own separate ways again.

Another old friend took off to Luxembourg with his wife for 3 years. He and his wife, Katie, had a traveling opportunity with their Big 4 accounting firm KPMG. They took off to Luxembourg while I was living in San Diego and explored much of Europe while there, including Sardinia. Since that time, they have returned home with a very young daughter that was born in Luxembourg. They returned home because of pressures from their families; more his family than her family.

Do he and I talk very often? No. Not at all. But we’re still very close. Just a few weeks ago I was walking the streets in a local neighborhood and he and his wife, Katie happened to be driving by in their brand new Hyundai Santa Fe. They saw me walking, turned around their vehicle and asked me if I wanted to go out for a coffee. I scooted in their vehicle and he, his wife and their daughter and I drove to downtown Burlington for a gourmet coffee and a nice conversation in some very cozy seats. It was a nice catch-up. We talked about friends, what people are doing with their lives and where holiday celebrations were going to be. The novelty of the conversation wore off fast and it was time for all of us to go our separate ways again. So they drove me back to park, dropped me off at my car and we said-goodbye.

Will I see John again? Most likely. It just may not be for a while. Our lives are busy and we always don’t have time for each other. Besides, they are closing on a new house and will need lots of time to get settled as a family in their home just outside of downtown Toronto.

Old friends come and go and re-enter our lives on a regular basis. If you feel like things are going too long don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and re-establish communication. Heck, these days it’s just as easy or easier to send a friendly e-mail to reconnect. Remember, our lives change in dramatic and dynamic ways so communication might not be the same as it used to be and your old friend might be communicating in a different way. So might you.

Another old friend and I reconnected on e-mail some time ago. I developed this relationship in my mid 20’s in San Diego, California. And to this day, it is one of the most meaningful relationships I’ve developed, having some of the greatest impact on my life. His name is Andrew Thorn. He lives in Apple Valley, California. He is happily married and has 7 children. Yes, he has 7 children. He is of Mormon faith, a behavioral coach, public speaker and prolific author. His website is www.andrewthorn.com. He coaches and encourages people to bring their life into full harmony or living lives that are whole, complete and fully finished. Hence the name of his company; Telios Corporation. A Greek translation – to be whole, complete and fully finished.

Andrew touched my life in very meaningful ways and it was done through e-mail and blog posts. We developed a relationship through writing and influenced each other anecdotally, through storytelling and mutual laughter. On several occasion I drove up to Apple Valley to visit him at his business. It was there that he showed me the Game of Life table and talked to me about living life with intention and purpose, constantly searching for meaning while finding happiness. We went out for a lunch a few times together as well. Going out for sushi one time and fish tacos on a different occasion. We forged a strong bond of friendship and he continues to inspire me to write and be a better person each day.

Since first getting connected with Andrew back in 2008, he has written 2 books on his own. He really is prolific and has a knack for writing material people want to read. He writes to get people ‘anxiously engaged’ in what they are doing and challenges people to be their very best each and every day they wake up.

Though Andrew and I don’t talk very much anymore. Now in the year of 2014. We still do reconnect on e-mail from time to time. Our lives are busy, particularly his having 7 kids and traveling internationally for business. So it is often I who is reaching out to him to see what is going on in his life. When I do reach out he does respond. Mind you, his responses are usually brief and to the point. He’s a businessman that has to allocate his time wisely to meet many competing demands. He is also a human being though and I am honored to receive responses to my e-mail inquiries. His guidance has been invaluable and his friendship is very important to me.

Admittedly there is a void. Andrew’s friendship, for a period of time in my life, was very meaningful and helped me grow in countless ways. He also helped me through a very difficult period in my life as I journeyed my way through 2nd year of graduate school at Alliant International University – California School of Professional Psychology. It wasn’t that I was depressed, but some days I really felt down in the dumps and he greatly propelled me toward a psychological and emotional comeback. A spiritual rebirth if you will.

I often struggle to think of how I could possibly thank him for all the ways he helped to improve my life and take it to the next level. I suppose the best way I can thank him is by continuing to write and express my thoughts in the most authentic way possible. After all, Dr. Andrew Thorn is “The Authentic Me” and encourages us to develop into our most real and vibrant selves through introspection and addressing that which frightens us the most and facing it head on.

Andrew is old friend. A very old friend. He and I are a couple of old souls connected through the instrument of writing and the sharing of thoughts. I often miss him. He influenced me greatly and left a lasting impact on my life. I often long to go back to the old days but this would be very immature of me and indicate a lack of understanding. I can always reminisce but I also must forge on to create the things I need to create and share the messages I need to share.

Andrew is just an e-mail or phone call away and I can almost always rely on a response or be guaranteed of a response from him. He’s just that kind of person and stretches himself in some pretty extraordinary ways.

Old friends are a wonderful and beautiful part of our lives. We reach out to them in the hopes that they will, in some way, touch our lives again. Don’t take old friends for granted and remember it is often just a matter of reaching out. Funnily, reaching out is often the thing we are most afraid to do because we don’t know what has changed in the lives of the people we hold dearest. Don’t let this hold you back. Pick up the phone. Send that e-mail that your fingers are so terrified of sending. You may be surprised at the response you get.

It’d be great to hear from you,

Matthew R. Polkinghorne
(289)-208-2241

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