From Abroad: A few words on happiness and hometown friends

I went bowling a few weeks ago with my hometown friends. The bowling alley where we spent
summer nights as kids. The same fluorescent lights. The same grey haired man behind the counter. The same ugly clown shoes. And the same group of friends I’ve grown up with over the last decade.

While sipping my beer and throwing numerous gutter balls, I realized how much I enjoy the time I spend with these people.

Sure, I’ve made many friends while traveling, throughout college and as a “young adult.” They are, with no doubt, great people. Hilarious. Motivated. Fun.

But for some reason they don’t pinch my heart like this hometown group. Maybe because I have never wrestled them in the basement. I have never locked their arms and ran into a winter ocean. I have never snuck in or out of the house with them or carpooled to the movies in their mom’s mini van.

This all must have something to do with why the friends we make in our “adult-ish” years are never as close as the ones we make as kids. I’ve shared so many “firsts” with these people I don’t think I’ll ever be able to let them go.

We didn’t know anything as kids, but thought we knew it all. We were awkward and confused. Our emotions were fresh and we explored them with our friends.

I’ve learned a lot with these people and have many times I wish I could forget. But instead we can look at those memories today and burst out laughing, or crying, or just shake our heads at the simplest things.

They will be the ones forever smiling in pictures on my wall. Even when, years from now, a new friend will glance at the photo and have no clue who the happy faces belong to, I still want to look at them everyday.

And when we’re back in the same town together, from different cities or time zones or countries, we’ll get together over a few cases of cheap beer and waste away the night. And laugh. Because I never seem to laugh the same way with other people.

That's what I get when I see my old friends. Cheep beer, bad jokes, good memories and a sense of home. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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