Maybe it’s the isolation that comes from a solid year of living in a pandemic, or maybe it’s the years creeping up on me, but recently I got a sudden and persistent urge to see old friends. This vision wasn’t just to see old friends, but rather to gather us all together under one roof at the same time (obviously, as soon as it is safe to do so).
When I started fantasizing about what that might look like, I realized what I was envisioning looked a lot like the movie “The Big Chill.”
In the 1983 movie, college friends gather for the funeral of one of their own. They all stay in a house together where they rehash old stories and heal some old wounds, all set to the soundtrack of some of the best Motown hits of the 1960’s.
What I’m craving is relatively simple: I’d love to rent a house somewhere moderately interesting (but not so interesting that we feel compelled to go out and do all of the things the whole weekend), with a large outdoor area for early morning coffee and late night talks. I simply want to reconnect with the people who have, at different points in my life, been my world without the distractions of kids, work and home.
I’m sure I’m not alone in saying that I miss being with friends — especially core friends. You know the ones ... the ones who’ve seen you at your absolute best, but also your absolute worst. They are the ones who stood by our sides at our wedding and who flew from across the country to meet our first born as soon as she was born. They’re also the ones who dropped what they were doing and immediately traveled to be with my husband when his father passed away.
Through the years, life has gotten in the way of many of my friendships. Geographically speaking, I have friends in all corners of the country. Some I haven’t talked to in years. Some I text daily. We’ve had marriages and some have had divorces; babies have been born, and grown kids have been sent off to college; a few have had very serious health scares, and some of us have lost parents or are now in the stage of life where we’re caring for aging parents. All of these challenges, celebrations and life stages cause you to reevaluate your life and force you to pinpoint what is most important. So, call it what you want, pandemic loneliness or a mid-life crisis, but I’ve realized that we’re getting too old to put off important visits and conversations with those we love the most.
Early this year, I had a lot of momentum to make my “Big Chill Weekend” happen. I sent out texts to everyone and proclaimed that it shall happen. Then, due to assorted life circumstances, the momentum has fizzled. Who knows if this will even happen in 2021. But craving a quiet weekend of “chilling,” with old friends feels like the best remedy for a year of isolation and I’m determined to somehow make it happen.