06 December 2005

The Proximity Factor

In the Palmer Florida chiropractic college program, a class of students (ranging from 45-80+) spend 3 years together. The first 2 years of the program are heavily academic; classmates see each other everyday, for 30 – 33 hours a week in lecture halls, technique lab, or small group research projects. Needless to say, when 60 people are thrown in a large room together on day 1, people start trying each other out to find out whom they want to spend time with studying or hanging out. We’ve been in school 1.5 years now: halfway through the program. It’s fun to look back and remember who I spent time with from first quarter until now. It’s also fun to see how other people’s friendships and alliances have changed . . . and that there are some that have never changed. Some haven’t been brave enough, nor seen the need, to venture out to meet other people and develop other friendships. That’s partly why my friendships have varied since I’ve been in school; I like to meet people and get to know them on a more than superficial level. I also enjoy the rarity of developing friendships with people that I can relate to on a level that’s far deeper than what notes I’m using to study for the next exam, or what the latest workout or nutrition program may be. I grow bored with superficial relationships when people don’t want to reveal who they are or chew on the complexities of deeper issues.

I’m don’t get too attached to people very quickly. That’s probably because I’ve learned over the course of my nomadic life that people move, some keep in touch, some don’t. . .so don’t bother getting too attached to people who think that life will be the same and friendships will be the same after graduation—because it won’t. I’m blessed to have some amazingly wonderful friends who’ve kept in touch since college graduation or since moving to opposite corners of the country. That kind of communication and dedication to friendship doesn’t happen every move, and it doesn’t even happen to every person.

I didn’t expect a whole lot of friends in the military would keep in touch with us. That seldom happens. You leave the squadron, and you’re forgotten. You graduate, and then you become a college memory. That’s the way it is. It’s the unexpected exception to the rule that makes me smile. And those exceptions are extraordinary, therefore, extremely valuable. So, I’m curious to see if I’ll develop new friendships with other classmates over our last 1.5 of school. I’d love it if a few of my good friends desire to reciprocate communication and friendship after graduation . . . but I’m not holding my breath.

I’ve always been the person who’s been so diehard committed about staying in touch. I’d write letters to elementary and junior high teachers long after I had their classes--just to say “hello” and to let them know how I was doing. I wrote to pen pals long after they quit sending letters. I think I just like corresponding with others and the joy of a reciprocal response of phone calls or letters. But, letter writing ceases to be amusing when it’s one-way. Therefore, the rule stands…people don’t keep in touch. Friendships are beautiful to cherish while they exist….but seldom do they last over the course of months or years when the proximity factor is no longer in play. Will anyone from Port Orange or Palmer Florida be one of those rare jewels of friends that I’ll hear from years down the road? Only time will tell.

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