I’m on my annual trip to Colorado to visit friends right now. It’s always a fun time. I arrived early Saturday morning. So far I’ve only had one altitude headache – and it wasn’t bad. I’m used to 800 feet above sea level.
It may seem strange, but I come here every year. I’m lucky because it’s a great place to visit. But the reason why I come is not the location.
My very first job out of college, I met this woman. I was only 22 and she blew me away. She was 7 years older and so sure of herself. She was always doing something and living life to its fullest. We joke around about my reaction when I first met her. I was probably just stunned by her. She told us the story about planning her wedding in a week. (yes, 1 week). She was the first woman I met who knew that she didn’t want to have children. I don’t know why, but this seemed like such a foreign concept to me. And to top it off, she’s beautiful. And I mean gorgeous.
A few months after she was hired (this was in my previous life working in business), her husband was transferred to San Antonio. So while he was getting started there and finding housing, etc. she was by herself for a few months. As a result, we’d do things after work and on weekends. She’s from Arizona, so she didn’t really know many people in my town. We even went to hear a Rockabilly band in a kind of sketchy area of town. My parents raised their eyebrows at that. “Do you know what neighborhood that’s in? Be careful.”
She moved to San Antonio and for the next few years I’d go there for some long weekends. In San Antonio is where she taught me how to golf. She and her husband had leaned how to make custom clubs, so one visit, I tried a variety of clubs and they made my set.
After a few years, family circumstances made it so they moved to Colorado Springs and then to a town between there and Denver. At this point, I had become a teacher and could take time during the summer to visit. Each year we usually do some touristy stuff. Royal Gorge, Garden of the Gods, Winter Park, Celestial Seasonings, Molly Brown House, downtown Denver, Boulder, Glenwood Springs, and the list goes on. We always seem to shop, eat well and golf.
The reason why I keep coming back is not for the location. It’s the friendship. You have people that make a difference in your life. No matter how many miles separate us, we’ll always be friends. In the age of cell phones, we talk a few times per week. Whenever I come to visit, it reminds me to make the most of my time and try new things. Now that I think about it, just knowing L and being around her all of these years has probably helped me be more confident in myself. She’s probably helped shape that shy 22 year-old more than either of us realize.
So I have a weekend left, here in mile high region. We’ve already done most everything on my “to do list.” But that’s not the point. The point is that everyone needs to have friends like these. It enriches your life and helps you be a better person and live your life to the fullest. In this age of email and text messaging, we need to make a point to have real connections. They’re completely worth it.