I’ve been thinking today about the value of childhood friends (have written about this before). An author I’m reading has quite rightly said that childhood friends are the only ones that really matter.
While I do have dear friends I’ve made more recently, I think he has a point. There’s some robustness and durability and inherent intimacy with childhood friends that I don’t feel often with newer friends.
Because they are from so long ago, these friendships are galvanized with the power of nostalgia and good memories. They are strengthened by the power of the Lindy Effect – if they have survived thus far, they are likely to survive just as long into the future. They are sturdy, fixed, survivable in ways the things you have acquired lately are not. Your new friends can replace you – they just acquired you, after all – but young adults can never make “childhood friends” again, and middle-aged adults can never make “young adult friends” again.
What I find interesting is that the same truth applies to more than just friends: memories, loves, places and homes, coworkers and comrades, even often-used objects (like cars) from your deep past will almost always be better than anything you acquire later. And that deep past may not just be your youth: anything older than 10 years probably gains that same aura.
Hold on to those things – they will always be richer and better than anything new you’ve acquired . A friend made one year ago and a friend made 10 years ago may seem interchangeable, but they are not – even if you have spent more time in the last year with the recent friend, and no time with the friend of 10 years.
But there is another lesson to be gained: whatever good you are doing now will be precious to you 20 years from now. Would you rather be rich or poor in 20 years? Adjust your lifestyle accordingly.