I recently gave a law school bound college student a piece of advice I am bad at following: I told him to make sure he finds non-law school friends.
I actually have quite a few non-law school friends. (And arguably very few law school friends at the school with me!) But I have not developed a consistent network of “in real life” friends here in Madison. So if I know you here, you’re probably connected to the law school…somehow.
Some old AFP co-workers invited me to a belated “friendsgiving” tonight. It sounded rather awkward as I did not know who the host would be or who else was invited. But after a day spent helping undergrads prep for the final Saturday…I jumped at the chance of being around ‘adults.’
Or at least non-students.
And I sure am glad I went. Most, but not all, of the people present worked in politics. But I was the only student. It was fun. It was casual. And most of all, it was a refreshing reminder about how normal people my age live and talk.
So I guess if I was giving advice to that same student, I’d tweak what I say. Instead of non-law school friends, I’d clarify…in real life non-students. Preferably ones your age. Because even you cannot be all law all the time.
9 years ago, I attended a Do Hard Things conference in Chicago. During one of the breaks I was browsing the store when a voice from across the table said,
“Are you Bucky Bookworm?” (Or something like that.)
In surprise I looked up to find a stranger, but not really a stranger. Though I had never met her in person, Melody and I were friends on the Generation Joshua forums. She had recognized my name and came to introduce herself. Along with Melody came her sister, Esther.
Esther was also a friend from the forums. The two were high on my “bucket list” of people I wanted to meet in person.
We met again at camp that summer.
We remained friends on the forums and on Facebook but as we grew older we started to lose touch. Esther visited Bryan College while I was a student there so we caught up briefly. However, our friendship slipped into the calm obscurity of two people who are bad at keeping in contact long-distance.
Until I noticed on Facebook that she was in Colorado Springs!
We caught up and grabbed dinner this week. (And if you are wondering, yes, that is the shirt from yesterday’s post!) The meal and conversation reminded me how delightful old friends are. We haven’t kept up in years and our interests and hobbies long since diverged. Yet once we started chatting, a dozen mutual acquaintances came up and countless little memories or forum posts needed analyzing. Every adventure and IRL meeting with other Gen Jers deserved a quick mention.
It was fun. I think one of the best parts of getting older is that your friends get older too. You become a different person as the years pass, but an old friend reminds you (for better or worse!) of who you were and how you’ve changed. Esther is no longer the shy younger sister peeking behind Melody at a Do Hard Things conference. She’s a confident, fun, kind young woman who is taking on a new job in a new city. I’m excited to see what God has in store for her! And I’m always grateful for Generation Joshua and the relationships that developed and remain even as time and space continue to separate us.