I served in the Brownies as a child–which I think has been replaced by Daisy’s. Not sure why there is name change but they no longer are required to wear brown uniforms as if they were in the service–just sweet blue bibs.
As an introvert (yes, I was an extremely introverted child) Brownies was hell on earth–all that mingling, selling cookies and the campout–hell. Weekly they pulled names out of a coffee can for duties and my name was not called all year, which meant that it was pulled for the final duty of the year. Carrying the American Flag in the Memorial Day Parade in Northbrook leading the troop. An existential nightmare for a seven-year-old introvert.
But I did love the handbook, badges and the songs. The verse that has stayed with me my whole life is “make new friends, but keep the old–one is silver and the other’s gold.”
This verse has been playing in my head off and on for the past two years as I uprooted my safe and comfortable life to take my hero’s journey into my unknown life. A journey I was not forced into but chose of my own free will–and equal parts terror.
I could not have done this without the support of my dearest friends–both old and new–who spent long hours on the phone with me, propping me up, asking me deep questions, providing advice and bearing witness to my personal growth. They held my hand.
I was able to step onto the path when I realized I had made some dear new friends in the year before I left. That it was easy to keep making new friends and this would serve me wherever I went.
I’ve made so many new friends since then in my new home and I realized something very profound. Throughout my life I have not made friends, I have recognized them long before the friendship. That my instincts told me immediately that they were to be part of my life–or their instincts told them. These women saw me through marriage, raising children, divorce, success and failure at work, and finally cutting myself loose from all that was comfortable and seeking new experiences in the world. Each of them profoundly impacted me, arrived just when I needed them and moved on when it was time, which is another important part of friendship.
Sometimes I pursued the friendship, sometimes they did and I recognized them. Sometimes the chemistry of friendship was immediate, sometimes it took longer.
Friends are the most valuable currency, aside from my family, for my life. With them, I can afford to take chances, take deep breaths and keep moving forward. I can afford my choices.
They are my silver and gold.