I have a dear friend I’ll call Alexa here. I mean, why not? The name is everywhere, and it refers to “someone” many consider a friend, a friend who answers questions quickly, a friend who’s never cross or angry – a friend who’s just always there.
I met this particular Alexa four years ago, as I was in the kitchen of my new cottage by the bay, looking out through my big double kitchen window. I saw a woman walking by pushing a baby stroller covered with a screen, and since she looked about my age, I figured there was a grandchild in it.
Since I hadn’t met many folks here at that time, and since she looked so nice, I went to my front door and smiled; she smiled back. Then I asked about who was in the carriage, but as I got closer, it hit me.
There was a CAT inside. Not a baby, a cat! Lacey. A ragdoll cat. Just gorgeous. We laughed, I know we then walked a bit together, and we learned a little about each other.
Four years later, Alexa and I are still great friends, and yet over the years, we’ve discovered that it’s in spite of our differences, which are legion.
First – what we have in common.
We are both the same age, only six months apart.
We’re both short females.
We’re single – me due to divorce, her due to her husband’s death.
We have kids and grandkids.
We love the village I now live in fulltime, the village she was born in and returns to every summer for six months.
We love to laugh.
We have big hearts.
We have an abundance mindset.
So, a friendship made in heaven, right? Well … maybe with a little help!
Let’s see about those differences …
Alexa loves cats; I much prefer dogs.
She hates cooking; I almost always cook my own meals (when I don’t have an instant one from my freezer). We joke about my never using the “c” word near her. Shivers.
She eats out frequently. I can’t remember for sure the last time I ate dinner at a restaurant. I like making my own dinners. Control? Maybe. Better food? Yup, certainly.
She’s gleefully retired and enjoying her freedom.
I cannot imagine being retired; the thought makes me ill. I would shrivel up and die if I didn’t have all the projects, all the clients, all the opportunities for learning, giving, and growing that I have. Just how I’m wired.
I love working. She hates the very thought of it. She sometimes thinks I’m an alien, dropped from Mars or somewhere because “at our age,” so many are retired. Yup, she’s right. So many are. But not all! Not me.
Her internal thermostat is set far higher than mine; if she’s wearing a jacket outside, I know I need a hat, gloves, and thermal underwear. Maybe another sweater under the fleece jacket I have on. Maybe I shouldn’t be out at all …
We do bond, however, over the New England Patriots; she even owns a few T-shirts with Tom Brady’s number 12 on them. I own none. Never even considered buying one! But I do get a kick out of hers.
We bond over dogs, even though she has a cat. She has had a dog or two in her past, and she always has treats / cookies for whatever dogs we meet on our walks. My dogs adore her … OK, it’s the treats, but still.
And we actually talk about all this a lot, because it’s so funny! If you stood us back to back, looking 180 degrees away from each other, you’d understand our relationship. Almost nothing about our lives’ details is the same. We discussed that yesterday during one of our walks, and we laughed as we always do.
I always pump my own gas. I go through the self-checkout line at the grocery store. I use online banking.
Alexa doesn’t. Stores have cashiers and gas stations have gas pumpers for a reason.
But we’re great friends nonetheless. We text constantly. We meet for walks, even though she doesn’t have dogs that create an imperative to WALK. But she goes with us … because we’re friends.
And all in all, that’s the point: Despite our differences, we’re great friends. I would wish that for so many others who only focus on the differences, without finding the place(s) they agree on. For me, the bottom line is the warmth of the human spirit, that feeling of connectedness way down deep that matters.
What has been your experience with friends? Do you have one or more with whom you share fundamentals but perhaps not the details? Or the other way around?