I used to be an aquatic scientist. The estuary was one of my favorite sites to work. Depending on the season the tide would bring in different species of fish and the fresh water from the river flow would make the place a dynamic meeting place between the ocean and land.
You never knew what you would get as we pulled in our seine nets to sample species. We guessed (based on the salinity, time of year and habitat) what would be around, but it was still a mystery.
Relationships are similar. In the ebb and flow over our lives, from childhood to our adult lives, we encounter new people, some becoming good friends and other just acquaintances. We make close friends when circumstances are favorable. Life has seasons and, often those friendships change as a result.
I used to feel bad when losing touch with a good friend. Recently we moved as a family from a a small town where we had established over fourteen years a strong network of friends. Social tools have helped us stay in contact with many of them, but it has also been important to make new friends where we are now. One difference I have come to realize during this transition is that when pressure is removed, we can just enjoy the ebb and flow of friendship.
We all go through seasons in life. As we grow older our list of friends grows. Something that is important to adopt is a “no pressure” stance. There will be times for collaborations, partnerships and alliances. There will be times that we will be critical in a the success of others. There will be times when we have exactly what is needed to help one another out. This week I saw a great quote from author and lawyer activist Bob Goff: “At some point we all end up standing at the bottom of a well looking up. Good friends make good ropes”
I have been the one in the well and I have been the one with the rope, both multiple times. As we hold our friendships valuable we also hold them loosely allowing each other to navigate life in a way that both allows for a deepening and broadening of our connections. It gives us freedom to create, love and inspire in the ebb and flow of friendship.