Ever since I was a wee lad, oh so many years ago, I have tended to stick with just a few close friends at a time. I can actually divide my elementary-school years into a few eras, based on who my best friend was at the time. That carried on into high school, as well. These were the people that I’d spend hours on the phone with or who I would join up with on the weekends. Generally, as one new person came in, one went out. Not cruelly (that I can recall), but just naturally. As I changed over the years, so did my interest in what qualities or past-times I looked for in a friendship.
I was never a kid with a huge mob of friends, either. I had a fairly large group of guys I did things with in late elementary, but even within that group I’d spend time focusing on one friend at a time for a while, before moving on to the next. I guess I just can’t handle more than one close friend at a time :).
I put a bit of a halt on this singular friendship near the end of high school and for a few years after, though. Through an old elementary school friend, I ended up amassing this regular group of buddies who I ended up doing everything with — OMG, and there were even girls, too! THAT was sure a first for me ;). It was a very interesting time of life, but this group was my go-to: visits to the fair, innumerable evenings together, Disneyland adventures, and more memories than I could properly recall. As time went on, though, we grew in different directions; to be more accurate, I started to really crave a more serious level of relationship, and most everything in that group was surface-level joking and silliness.
So, I rolled along for the next decade, back to my old one-friend-at-a-time shtick, and that was pretty a-okay in my book. I’m hardly here to complain about those folks because I love ’em a great deal: KB, Nick and Bree, Joe, Sarah, Scott Brown. A few months ago, though, my lovely friend Korkie invited me to join a trivia night group at a pub in Vista she’d been attending. I went for several weeks, getting to know the regulars who were on our Meetup group team, and then a few of us decided to get together for a hike on Easter Sunday. It was probably the best Easter I’ve had.. hiking among God’s beautiful creation, swimming in a pool with my jeans on (for lack of swimwear), and sharing plenty of laughs.
From that day on, I’ve once again had a group of friends I’ve been spending a heck of a lot of time with :). It was six of us that first afternoon, but we have since added a few more. We even have a name we call ourselves, like totally cool kids do, based on a joke of something we witnessed on our first hike. Since then we’ve been on multiple hikes, visited the fair, had beach days, spent an unhealthy amount of time in community hot tubs, gone dancing, watched movies, helped the couple in the group move to a new place, and have a Facebook group chat that is insanely long and filled with absolute madness.
It’s been wonderful!
This new group o’mine has provided a lot of fun (aside from my being sick, I’ve met up with them at least once every weekend since we started hanging out), offering a splendid consistency of companionship that I haven’t had in quite some time, but there have also been plenty of chats about life and love and faith and other things. We’re quite a cast of characters, fitting of a movie-poster lineup, each filling a unique but welcomed role in the collective scheme of groupness. I love these folks, and my life’s been quite the better for knowing them.
I didn’t go out to dinner with them on my birthday the other day, but we had a big Meetup group gathering Wednesday night at a fun pub with a great outdoor patio area, the Belching Beaver in Vista, so I was able to see them all then (including one who doesn’t really go out and about on weekdays, but came out just in honor of my birthday — which makes a fella feel great). Two of the gang disappeared for a while, though, and then BAM.. they reappeared with cupcakes and a birthday balloon they’d just sneaked off to buy. As I mentioned in my birthday post the other day, I don’t like folks making a big fuss over me, my date of birth has never been a big deal to me, but the intention behind something… that’s where the real Mark Mushakian goodness is at :). These kids (and I call them kids because I’m the old man of the group) really made my impromptu surprise birthday celebration something special, and it wasn’t an extravagant ordeal, but that’s not really the Mark way. What it WAS, however, was an act I’ll always remember in the fondest way :).
I wouldn’t have at all imagined that joining KB for a random night of trivia would’ve led to a whole new group of friends, but by golly that’s just what happened. Sort of how I imagine having a girlfriend would be, it’s kinda nice to be able to count on having regular plans each weekend — an assumption I can safely make even before plans have been officially set. I’ve spent most of my life with just 1 or 2 ongoing friendships at a time, but I’m pretty okay with breaking that mold for good now :). On the off-chance that any of them are reading this (aside from the one who I know is [Hi! Also, look at all of these smileys! :)]), I love you folks… and I look forward to hanging out later ;).