I met Cordelia in Paris at a Student Foyer. I was on summer break from New York University. Cordi was traveling around Europe with her cousin Gustavo. She was a petite beauty with stunning dark long hair and creamy tanned skin reflective of her part Mexican heritage. We connected like lost sisters. The following year, we excitedly reconnected again when I attended University of California at Los Angles (UCLA) and she was living in her home of El Centro. We ventured into Tijuana for multiple silly (and dangerous!) excursions. A year later, we were roommates in a Greenwich Village apartment during the age of sex, drugs and rock 'n roll, living next to Herbert Berghof Acting Studios from where so many film and theater celebrities developed. I hadn't thought much about those times until I got a short email from Cordi some weeks ago proposing a visit. We had not seen one another in 30 years! A lifetime! Three decades apart forces you to accept the passing of time, acknowledge aging and generates curiosity about longevity of friendship
We arranged to meet at The Lodge in downtown Fort Myers, Florida where the odd motif of a mountainous ski resort was strikingly incongruous to the tropical palm-treed surroundings but a bunch of things seemed odd. Cordi had turned blonde ("to cover the gray," she admitted) and we both had lost our tiny waistlines and taut, youthful faces. But we had not lost our spirit of adventure or exuberance for life. We reminisced for hours and hours, rekindling memories of screwball and risky experiences.
We were explorers (and still are!), in similar and different ways. We are both trained in therapeutic fields and--with immense fascination--continue to search into richer understandings of human behavior. But while I've lived in one place for more of the time, Cordi has been a woman of the earth with impromptu homes at Airbnbs all over the world, her belongings prudently contained in two suitcases. I was awed by her lifestyle. I had lived that way at 19 but how does that work when you're no longer a young person? I wondered about not having any home base and how the internal longing to belong and be part of a "tribe" affects her. She says that while she feels love from her sister who is still based in Mexico, she admits to being mostly disconnected and finds more powerful relevance and affection from fellow travelers.
Her comments remind me that we are all travelers and everything is transient and mutable. Change is inevitable. Cordi just lives in that realm more consciously than most. Our conversations flowed from the past to the present. We filled in massive gaps; covering relationships, ex-husbands, discoveries, work, and perspectives. There is still so much more we yearn to cover. We were luxuriating in the warmth and closeness between us and shocked to discover 8 hours had slipped by. At the end of the day, I realized that there are certain friendships that endure forever regardless of how many decades pass by or how many new experiences are layered on top, We are mirrors of one another and we belong: we are our own tribe. Friendship is a potent reminder that we are not alone.
This was a feature of a recent enews by Peggy Sealfon. Interested in subscribing to receive monthly news and insights that can improve your life? Click here.