“I think we should all meet on the Vineyard for the 4th of July weekend.”
Organizing families and schedules and getting to an island is a bit of a stretch across the board usually…except for this time. Within a day or two, every piece had fallen into place. And several weeks later, they showed up. Here. With me.
That was then, this is now
Over the last year, I have been lucky enough to welcome wonderful, brilliant, new friends into my life. These are people who are meeting me now and know this to be the me that I am: an adult, a mom, a writer, a business woman, (and now I will stop this list before I get into trouble).
You see, of late, it has been my contention that I have become more me, recently, than I have ever been. That I am inhabiting my skin, my heart and my brain more fully than I ever have before. And therefore, I assumed that I was so copacetic with these new friends as a result of my newly hatchedness. That we connected so deeply because I was finally and deeply me.
And then Johanna and Orly arrived.
And there I was being the self I’m so happy being now…and there they were not noticing anything different. Being with them was and is like chewing—something I don’t have to think about. It just happens, my body knows inherently how.
Not only do these two women know me, but they also love me. And have, even when years have gone by without much communication, even when life was happening, for 27 years. Their love, it seems, is for something that is just intrinsically, undeniably, Julie.
At one point during the weekend, Johanna told me, when I put on one dress in particular that “it looked better on the hanger”—true friends do not mince words. So, I asked her point blank if I was different or the same—then versus now—and she said, “Well, you were always really smart and a brilliant writer and strong-willed and, well, wild—but I will say that you’re funnier now.” (I’m wilder now too, but that’s an entirely different blog post. Nah, that’s an entirely different blog altogether.)
Which was when I realized that me being me now is really just me being an enhanced version of who I always was—before I wasn’t a kid anymore. You know, when I was 10.
It is soul-quenching to be with people that have known and loved me for this long. It is life-quenching to realize that I wasn’t so off the mark way back when. It is road-quenching to know that even though there was a big chunk of years when I floundered, off the map—the markers were there all along, that I was tied to them indelibly as if with invisible ink that just needed those weird, white magic markers to make the ties visible.
And that, without really trying—just sniffing my way—I somehow, deliciously, made it back. Plus 27.
Image credit: Kevin Dooley (I couldn’t help it. I typed in ‘old friends’ and this image popped up amongst some random and boring pictures of, well, old friends. May we all still be friends when we are this old. And may our bosoms never, ever look like this.)