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A case of nostalgia

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Rachel Bertsche photo 2 

This weekend marked another stop on the annual wedding circuit. I’m told that this phase of my life (we’re attending seven weddings in 2011, six of which are out of town) will slow down in a couple of years, but since I’ve already got four weddings lined up for 2012, I don’t see that happening soon.

Saturday’s affair was one of my closest friends from college’s nuptials. Which meant the entire weekend consisted of bonding with my besties and reminiscing about the old days. After I got home last night, I spent some time analyzing the difference between time with old friends and new.

A year and a half ago, I would have come home close to tears, totally bummed that I didn’t have anyone in Chicago who measured up to my college BFFs. But now I have Chicago friends. I may still be searching for The One, but I’ve racked up plenty of pals here–people I could invite to last-minute brunch, even if they couldn’t attend. Still, there is a noticeable difference between hanging out with the college crowd and hanging out with my new friends, and I think the culprit is, simply, time.

I met my college friends 11 years ago. It’s hard to believe that it’s been that long. For three of those years we lived together, spending every waking moment by each other’s sides. A friend and I were laughing over the weekend at how even though we were roommates and took classes together and went out as a group at night, whenever I’d run into her at the gym during our college days, I’d stop her mid-run and she’d stand on the side of the treadmill so we could “catch up.” You know, since the hour earlier when we’d hung out.

There’s no adult equivalent to that college set up. You grow up, you live alone or with a romantic partner or roommate, but the days of eight girls sharing one home? Those are over. Unless you’re in a brothel.

And in all that time together, you make memories. It’s inevitable. So I spent a good majority of this weekend reminiscing. We laughed about awkward date stories (mine included), embarrassing moments, and, I must admit, there was some toilet humor in there too. And by some, I mean a lot.

In looking back at the weekend, and at old friends versus new, it’s become clear that time with the oldies is often about strolling down memory lane. Of course we talk about our current lives and what we hope for the future, but even those conversations are rooted in a shared history. With new friends, even after a year, there’s still so much getting to know each other. And the learning curve is higher, because we don’t live together and we’ll never spend the 24/7 time together that college friends do.

One isn’t necessarily better than the other. I cherish time with my college BFFs more than anything in the world. It’s so comfortable, being with people who know you so completely and will always, always, laugh with you. But I adore my new friends, too. They’re different, and it seems I’m lucky, finally, to have both.

Do you get nostalgic about old friend reunions? If you had to, would you choose old friends or new? (Remember my friend, who made the case for new friends being better than old ones?)

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