Saturday, April 23, 2005

Moon Over My Hammies

Its often been said that people "fear change". I never really thought of it before, but that is such a negative way to view humankind. Let's look at this in a different way. I like to say not that people fear change, but take comfort in familiarity.

Tonight Sam, Kate, and I went to the movies. Afterward, we decided to go to Denny's. I have not been to Denny's believe it or not in several years. Furthermore, I haven't been to the Dickson City Denny's in almost twice as long.
(New Year's Day - 2000!) It was a lot of fun going back there with two of my oldest friends. While I was there I really felt comfortable, like I was back in a good place. It felt the same way as it did while I was in high school almost. Then I noticed as I looked around that the wait staff was the exact same as it was in those years. There was crazy gay George, the mean lady, and all the rest. Wow, I couldn't believe that the same people were there, and acting exactly the same as they did 10 years ago. It really made me realize how much comfort we take as human beings in consistency.

I think its more than that though. I think we really like to be able to re-live our past good moments, and don't ever want to let go. Why else would we take photographs? Do you save emails, letters, or cards you get and pull them out on occasion? I do. Does your family have traditions they celebrate every year during the holidays? My fraternity has traditions that are the same across the board for every Sinfonian - and we do take comfort in this fact - they bind us together.

Inevitably and unfortunately though, nearly all things do change. Some things come to an end all-together. Some people take lots of photos or try in other ways to preserve the past. But photos eventually fade or get lost, and you can only preserve Davinci's "Last Supper" for so long. Here's the secret we all should follow: Keep your traditions for as long as you can, and take those photos. They will bring you comfort and joy for as long as they are able. But don't let this stand in the way of creating new good memories and experiences. People need both old and new to be happy.

This leads me to another point. Do you have any friends you don't keep in contact with? You probably have many good memories with them, but don't share anything in common any more. The reason for this is that friendships cannot survive on past good times alone. If you want to save your relationship with someone you've lost contact with, the time to do it is now. The situation is not going to get any better by doing nothing. Think of a friend you haven't seen in a while. Make a committment to call them soon and make a lunch date. You are first going to have to get over not wanting to call them. Just ignore that feeling and move on. Pick a place you used to frequent with them, and go to lunch. Spend the first half of the conversation with reliving good times of the past. This will break through both of your protection bubbles and make you both more comfortable. Judge to where you are about halfway through the outing, and move on to new conversation. This is not the time to play catch up. Fit that in wherever you can, but don't make it the main conversation. All that does is remind you and the other person how much time and space is really between you. Make new conversation by discussing whats in the news, talking about your pets, or family, your favorite TV shows, future vacations, or hobbies. If your old friendship is to be current, then it must exist on that level.

Embrace your good memories, and don't forget to make new ones.

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"The whole truth is generally the ally of virtue; a half-truth is always the ally of some vice." - G.K. Chesterton