Last night I spent an hour chatting to my best mate Craig in Australia, although not a frequent occurrence about once every two or three months but each and every time feels as though we’d seen each other earlier that day.  It’s the sort of friendship that is truly timeless.

Even after our phone call it felt as though we picked up our conversation as if we’d seen each other just hours before.

Last night we talked about the speed of life and reminisced about how long ago we met. I think we were both a bit taken aback when we realized that we first met in College way back in 1977…yeah, that would be forty years ago this past February.

We both laughed that our kids are now adults and that we’re faced with far different challenges to that of our youth.  In those days we had little cash, but the world was at our feet. Incredible to reflect on the circle of life and the bounty of good fortune that both he and I have been lucky enough to have – a wonderful family, kids, our health, not to mention our sense of humour and most importantly our enduring friendship.

Seriously one minute you’re in University and the next your life half over…

Like each of our best friends, Craig has been there for me through thick and thin, one of the few constants in my life for all these years and even though we’ve lived in different countries halfway around the world from each other for almost 30 of those years it has endured!

I grew up a bit of a loner in my small country town, and couldn’t wait to leave and so when I was accepted to College it was an opportunity to get out and not look back. My good fortune was that I met Craig a couple of weeks into the school year and we became firm friends from the very beginning.  We decided to share a house in second year along with his brother Alan and legend of the “Norman Street Boys” was built. 🙂 

If that house could speak it would have some fabulous and perhaps even scandalous stories to share…so now that I think of it I’m sort of happy it can’t talk!   Lol!

Like me, Craig was raised in a farming community about an hour north west from where I grew up. Not surprisingly the more we talked over our pizza or fried dim sims that first year the more we realized that we’d had many similar experiences growing up.  There was many a night we’d head down after studying to the fish and chip shop or pizza parlour in the town center and spend an hour to two just chatting about everything, yet nothing.  Truly forming the bonds of a deep and lasting friendship from the beginning.

Over the years we’ve done some cool stuff together, went to see Bob Marley live during his only Australian tour in 1978, we hiked across the Kokoda Track in Papua New Guinea, and have the tattoos to provide it, we’ve played golf on the hallowed ground of St Andrews (yes, including the old course!) in Scotland, toured London and New York for days at a stretch just exploring and that’s only scratching the surface!

However, one of the many things that I appreciate about Craig is that he makes me laugh like no one else, we’re talking serious belly laughs here, not just your average giggle. Fortunately we have the capacity to laugh at ourselves, and this self deprecating form of humour is rather reminiscent of Monty Python…yes, you know exactly what I mean!

Not surprisingly, when we get together in person it’s as if time has stood still and that we are those two young, bright eyed country boys once again…

In a world of social media where “friends” and “likes” are considered a measure of your popularity I find that in reality you can actually count your true friends (or mates as we’d say in Australia) generally on one hand.  It’s all well and good to be immersed in the endorphin soaked world of social media and gathering new friends like picking apples and entirely another to have someone who you can totally depend on no matter what.

Take a minute to reflect on who your “mates” are, yes the ones who you can rely and depend on?   This exercise in itself is interesting as your gut generally hones in on your real friends within seconds.

So what is it about these people that connect you so solidly and so enduringly?

For me its  a confluence of things – firstly he gets me on a host of levels, understanding my motivations, my values, my vulnerabilities, then layer on that he’s seen me experience every emotion known to man and yet he never judges, never preaches, nor does he expect anything in return.  I also know I can rely on him to give me honest feedback when I’ve gone off the rails.  🙂

Best of all a true friendship is a two way street.

I realize how fortunate I am to have a mate like Craig in my life, and can definitely see us having a ice cold beer in another forty years from now, talking about our great grandchildren and reminiscing about our lifetime of adventures together.

Bring it on!   Although not too fast though…as I’m thoroughly enjoying the ride right now!!!