HAPPINESS; THE SHORT vs THE LONG ROAD

From ‘The Crowded Street’ by Winifred Holtby:

Martin Elliott smiled at her. ‘Have you found that too? Don’t you think about the books in most circulating libraries that they are nearly all the wrong way round. Short stories with happy endings and long stories with sad ones. Quite wrong.’

‘Why that?’

‘Ah, surely the short story should end with tragedy, for only sorrow swoops upon you with a sudden blow. But happiness is built up from long years of small delightful things. You can’t put them into a short story.’

Today’s prompt for the Post-A-Day challenge is: How do you define the word friend?

I read the passage quoted above early this morning, before I’d seen the prompt, and it made a profound impact on me. It’s true, really, happiness can come in fleeting blitzes; but, ultimately, it’s a multi-layered thing.

And so, with a repost from July last year, to the topic of friendship.

“Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.”
Anais Nin

I’ve always had a bit of a problem with the concept of a ‘Best Friend’. So many people pass through our lives at different times, in different circumstances, and each fulfills a unique and memorable role in the constantly changing ‘who’ that we are at any given moment.

There are those jealously guarded school attachments, shared secrets of crushes and the dizzy excitement of preparing for dances. Heartbreaks, disdain of fuddy-duddy parents and overindulgence in chocolates which necessitates hours of shared face packs. Despite heartfelt promises on the last day of school to write every day, new university friends are made and the school pals are eventually relegated to a clutch of fading polaroids.

Then comes the real world and the workplace; you’re flung in amongst people you’d perhaps not have in your home. But there is the common field of reference and you find that you side with someone against the tyrant who is your boss, that you both laugh at the silliness of pompous language. A memo containing ‘paradigm shift’ or ‘intrinsic strategic positioning’ can have you both rolling on the floor with laughter, to the bemused stares of others in the office. When you leave the company, this friend will handmake a card for you that you will frame and keep on your wall for ever, because it speaks volumes about the many years of private jokes between the two of you:

Your honesty, integrity and commitment to staying at the leading edge of marketing communication could put you in line to win an XXX Raising The Bar Award.
But your sluttish behaviour, habitual substance abuse and persistent use of expletives has earned you a Raising The BRA Award.
Jolly well done, we’ll miss you Luvvie!

 

 

 

With a successful marriage comes years of accrued observations and events; the physical proximity leads to a relationship in which so many things can be left unsaid. It’s an unparalleled concord and probably the closest one I would consider for the term ‘Best Friend’.

Mature friendships, gained and grown in later life are truly above rubies. The wealth of accumulated knowledge and experience that can be enjoyed over a cup of coffee or a bottle (or six) of wine is joyful beyond words. Shared parenthood trials and tribulations, love of the arts; literature, music and humour, these are the rewards that come with the advance of age.

Enriching? Hell yes, I’ve been – and continue to be – incredibly lucky.

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47 thoughts on “HAPPINESS; THE SHORT vs THE LONG ROAD

  1. I have to try hard not to be envious of your life sometime. Don’t always succeed. Please forgive me that. I hope it is always good for you. Sounds like you have worked hard for it all. 🙂

  2. Love that excerpt from The Crowded Street, and note that your friendship stories and mesh quite nicely.

    People come and go . . . adding layer after layer to the tapestry of our life.

    {{clink}}

  3. Oh, I adore the card. What a great time you must have had working with a person who could put that together!

    Ironically, today I want to the opera (flashed out here from the Met in NY) and ended up having a reunion with a friend of 40 years. I still feel that I am sitting in rose petals. Naked. 🙂

  4. As is most often the case, I’m ending my day by reading your post…and as is most often the case you provide a warm smile and thoughts for me to think about as I curl up for the night…good night my friend.

  5. The wonderful and varied treasures that are friends. No two the same, but all complimenting your own life. Not a plain string of pearls, but a necklace of memories, happiness and sadness shared, each a precious gem.

  6. loved the post Cindy — I feel much the same way about friendship — I try not to designate ‘best’ to any one person anymore — there are people whom I love like family, and these will always be in my heart — but ‘best’ just seems so high-school-ish I don’t use it to define any of my friends anymore

  7. Cindy – I have so missed having (taking) the time to read your creative posts. I, too, have been incredibly blessed with the friends I have made over the years in different circumstances. A very lovely and unexpected blessing is the blogger friends – like you!

  8. A handful of good friends who can always be relied upon is very important, and like you I do not have one ‘best friend’ but several marvellous women who are true pals 🙂

  9. I like the part about workforce friends, people that wouldn’t likely number among your personal friends, becoming friends because of shared experiences and camaraderie.

    Friends are the ones that laugh when you laugh and cry when you cry. Friends care. Blessings…

  10. Love your treatise on friends. I agree with what you say about the term ‘Best Friend’ – each fulfills a unique and memorable role in the constantly changing ‘who’ that we are at any given moment. Well said!

  11. I have a handful of really good friends that have come a long way with me. Special people.
    And then i have a whole bunch of people that i enjoy, but not enough to invite home for dinner!
    Great post.
    xx

  12. I’ve never really known friends for that many years – a few at most (maybe 3 – 5yr)… I’ve stopped seeking those relationships a long time ago.

  13. Oh how true, people come & go through our lives like a passing parade, some stay for ages or a lifetime & some even over stay at times 🙂 but friends are indeed the rich tapestry of our lives. Love your whimsical thoughts with this one Cindy, thanks 🙂

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