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Terri Simon

Youthful reflections

It was later in the evening on a Friday night, and the phone rang. I initially panicked a bit. After all, most of my friends were probably doing what I was doing (nodding out on the couch), and any relative who was calling me at that hour was probably in the midst of a crisis. The newspaper was already off the press, so I knew it wasn’t an office call.

I almost decided to ignore the call, but the “what ifs” quickly turned my sleepy demeanor into reality.

On the other end of the phone was a dear friend who is much younger than I am (probably at least 20 years younger). The sound of his voice made me smile immediately, and we quickly headed into a conversation, as usual, it was an in-depth one. I love that about this friend. While we intersperse small talk with these insightful conversations, I think we both hang up the phone or depart company with a myriad of new ideas swarming our soul.

Our friendship is unique. We have passions that are the similar, but on the other hand, we come from two different generations. He is a free spirit, and he reminds me of a place in time in my own life when I would have been classified the same. One thing I really admire about him is that he doesn’t allow the convoluted world to get in his way, and that in and of itself is a breath of fresh air to me.

Both of us are in tune enough to know we can only learn from the other, so the age difference between us isn’t an obstacle; instead it compliments our thoughts. I’d like to think we inspire each other — Me: The voice of reason and experience (hard to believe, I know), and Him: The voice of a more a youthful perspective mixed with charisma and the awakenings of life. Our friendship is a good match.

I spoke; he listened. He spoke; I listened. The conversation went on and on as the minutes ticked by unnoticed. Our admiration for each other is apparent, and we both know we can say about anything without worrying the other won’t understand.

At some point in our chat, we got around to talking about our goals. That’s when I heard myself offering some advice to my young friend. He picked up on my words right away, and before I knew it, despite his much younger age, I realized he was already a few steps ahead of me.

We talked about our desires to reach our goals, but we also came to the realization that we must not focus so much on those goals that we forget to enjoy the journey along the way. I offered those thoughts, but he was already ahead of this old gal. He got it. He already understood that concept. Actually, he was already leaps and bounds ahead of me, especially when it comes to relishing the trek toward our target destinations — our goals, rather than being so anxious to achieve those goals that we inevitably lose sight of all the wonderful scenery along the way.

My friend appears to enjoy every second of life, and the best part of that is he knows he’s enjoying it while he’s enjoying it. He isn’t racing toward the destination like we tend to do when we get older; instead, he’s living each and every day — really living. He refuses to become so breathless with his race to accomplish his goals that he loses sight of what’s important along the way. He understands that if he gets to his goal and he’s old and completely worn out, it won’t make any difference whether he’s accomplished his goal or not.

After several more minutes of conversation and reflection, we both hung up the phone ... I had to assume his smile was similar to mine. I think we all could use a younger friend to help keep life in perspective. I’m sure glad I answered the phone that night ...

Tonica News Editor Terri Simon can be reached at tsimon@tonicanews.com. Her recently-published book, “Grandma’s Cookie Jar,” can be purchased at area stores, online at www.boxingdaybooks.com or by contacting Simon.