"It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them."
- R. W. Emerson
All Hallows' Eve is fast approaching. It's a time to honor the dead, saints, martyrs and the faithful departed. It's a time to dress up, act a fool, and eat bad candy. It's a time to remember. It's a time to reflect. It's a time to celebrate. It's a time of frights and spooky things.
Halloween is also my birthday. It's a time when friends come from far away places to spend a few days at Halcyon House. It's a time to think about the years, which are piling up - seemingly at a quicker pace.
Kim and I have a house full of friends, around whom we, "... can afford to be stupid." And stupid we shall be. Stupid and silly.
I'm constantly impressed by the quality of friends in my life. There's Kim, my wife and best friend. There's the core group of solid people who support me and brag on me and make me better. These friends expect the best. They demand that you correct mistakes. They require you to be the best version of yourself. These are the people you want around.
Then there are the folks who have come and gone. You know the ones, they're around for a season and then they move on. Some move away. Some fall out. Some just stop showing up.
Sometimes it feels good to excise dead weight. It always feels good to excise the actively negative ones, those people who make life more difficult than it should be - for no reason other than they harbor drama and collect grievances. These people pick nits and hold grudges. They are toxic. Good riddance to them.
The older I get, and I'm about to pass another milestone in a few days, the more I am able to easily let go of the pickers of nits, the grudge holders, the easily aggrieved.
I really do try to approach all of my dealings in good faith. I sometimes fuck up. Hey, we all do. We say that thing that's offensive. We react to a thing in the most useless manner. We knee jerk our way into hurting our friends feelings. When this happens, we apologize. We try to correct. We try to do better.
Real friends, like the amazing people I'm lucky to have in my life, give a pass. I'm not saying they allow themselves to be walked on, but they work - in good faith - to keep the friendship alive and well.
On this, the celebration of my upcoming birthday, I honor the people who have come and gone. Cheers to the ones who departed too soon (All of the ones who've died departed too soon.). Charles, Melissa, Ann, Old Man Bob, and countless others: You are missed.
I also want to honor the ones who have made the decision to leave, for whatever reason. Cheers to you. I beg your forgiveness for my offenses. I beg your forgiveness for my stupidity. I trust this will be taken in good faith. It's intended in that way.
So, here we are, on the cusp of another year here in this life. Here we are, ready to be stupid and ready to spend a fantastic weekend with old, good friends. Cheers to you.