When 'Men of a Certain Age', a TV show I loved, was discontinued, it caused a void in my life. Suddenly these men, not that dissimilar from my friends and me, were gone. Their struggles had become my struggles, their victories, my victories. Now, I would never know their fate.
I decided to copy the premise, so I sent out a group email to several old Berkeley friends and proposed a breakfast club where we would commune on a regular basis. The idea caught on. Though it started as a men's group, we have added a female member. A few times a year, we rotate between cafes in the Bay Area and catch up on each other's lives. It's very low key - no by-laws or procedures; we simply talk and eat. After breakfast, we take a walk, a dog or two beside us.
We are old friends; some of us go back to nursery school. Words aren't always necessary; a look, a laugh, a hand on a shoulder speaks volumes. We know each other's history, each other's families; we understand each other's challenges. We have survived different trials and tribulations: deaths of family members, raising kids, aging parents, divorce, remarrying, living eternally single lives.
Not only am I blessed to live near old friends, but also I'm lucky to live in the place where I was raised. I still hike in Point Reyes where my family regularly picnicked. I buy groceries at the Monterey Market where my mother shopped. And I still feel that rush, exiting the Yerba Buena tunnel, the city gleaming in the sun, like when I was a kid, and my parents took us to Ghirardelli Square for black-and-tans.
Though I am 55 and on the back-end of life, I am grateful to have old friends and familiar places nearby. They ground me, tying me to this place, these people, my youth close enough to touch.