"The best mirror is an old friend." – George Herbert

My 20th high school reunion is this year.

I am looking forward to seeing all the old faces, hopefully they’ll all be wearing name tags, and catching up on all the news in real life. Most of my school friends are on FaceBook but there is still the quality interaction that comes from seeing familiar faces in the flesh.

Over the years I have lived in many places across South Africa and very often away from my ‘best’ friends. Many of them have moved to other provinces or have emigrated abroad but when we meet up it is simply a continuation of our last conversation. This is how I know that we are still soulmates no matter how our lives have lead us to very different places from all those years ago.

My longest friendship started when I was 6 years old in Sub A. Berni now lives in the UK, is married and an obsessive academic, but I will NEVER forget how we competed back then to write the longest nativity story in our Catholic convent school. Over the years we replaced the rivalry with common bonds of schooling and other activities. We now see each other annually during her visits to South Africa. Our time together is not spent reminiscing as much as it is about adding new stories and people to our conversations.

My best high school friendship began in Standard 6 with Nicci. We are now both married with children and have shared our passage to adulthood with each other in a way that family would prove insufficient. Although we always promise to meet up annually we never really get to do so but I absolutely know that if I ever needed her to be closer than a telephone call away that she would be with me in a heartbeat.

Not all my best friends go back as far as Berni and Nicci but they are now best friends nonetheless. Why? We had common interests, mutual understanding and at some point we helped each other overcome some or other life hurdle.

My circle of close friends is quite small, but then that’s how I choose it to be. We have a trust, a bond, that protects us from the bad that the world may throw at us. I believe it is this trust that will carry us through many more years to come.

I am very proud of all my friends for what they’ve achieved personally or careerwise. Through their experiences I have learnt a great deal of life lessons and have been able to use their experiences to reflect more deeply on my own life.

When I get ahead of myself I simply have to revisit any of our conversations and just change the context to know what my next steps should be.

I am blessed to have wonderful friends who lift me up and carry me through all that life may offer. And for this I am eternally grateful.

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