Do you still have a childhood friend? If so, you are fortunate, because there are many people who don’t - often for reasons that are beyond their control - and they miss out on some of the unique benefits of such relationships.
I was reading A Song For You: My Life with Whiney Houston by Robyn Crawford, Whitney’s lifelong friend, collaborator and confidante, and it got me thinking about all the good things that such friendships bring to those of us lucky enough to have them.
I have known one of my best friends all her life (our mothers were friends and carried us at the same time, but I was born first, so I can claim this) and the closeness we developed in childhood has proved to be an enduring bond. Although there was a separation at the age of six when her family moved abroad, that did not put an end to our relationship: we reunited as soon as we could and, to this day, we are just as happy and comfortable in each other’s company as we ever were.
There is a theory that the friendships you make later in life can never run as deep, because they don’t have the long history of shared experiences, especially the ones that form you when you are a youngster. But all friendships, whether long-standing or recent, are to be cherished as a necessary and essential part of the human experience. Without them we cannot fully appreciate the full range of our emotions. As Simone de Beauvoir* wrote, “One's life has value so long as one attributes value to the life of others, by means of love, friendship, indignation and compassion.”
It is not surprising, therefore, that I am a big fan of another author, Elena Ferranti, who, in her Neapolitan Novels, explores the subject of lifelong friendship with understanding and compassion. Not only do I recommend them to you, but I am thrilled to spread the word that she has a new novel coming out in June 2020. That may seem a long way off but good things, like friendships, are worth making sure of, so I’ve pre-ordered my copy.