The four of us have known each other for well over five decades, even longer for some, which has given our friendships the comfortable, broken-in fit of an old jacket. Our paths have diverged over the years. We have lived in different places and done different things, concentrated on our own families and careers, lost touch with parts of our pasts and even, over time, with each other. But with old friends the bonds persist. When we meet again, even after many years, we pick up where we left off, not needing to define ourselves nor explain our references. As we have grown older, we have come to savor these things, and so, four or five years ago we decided to get together for a long weekend at least once a year. A lot has changed, of course, and only in our own eyes do we look the same as we used to. But above all, it’s the laughter that brings us together, laughter that comes as easily as before but seems kinder now.
There are many benefits that come with growing old, from cheap movie tickets to grandchildren to the relief that we may yet escape the messes we humans have made in this world – to old friends, whose common memories remind us that the past is not gone. It has been incorporated into the arc of our lives, whose stories are yet unfinished. We get together every year because we have learned that old friends keep us young.