Good morning, and congratulations on making it all the way to Friday! I hope your week has been productive and filled with first-rate conversation.
The Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2012 was one of the most challenging, stressful, enjoyable and amazing experiences of my life so far. Of the many things I took away from that month of madness, the one I think I am most pleased about is that it taught me to be happy about going to the theatre by myself. Don’t get me wrong, I almost always go to the theatre with a friend – in a few hours I am off to see Titus Andronicus with one of my best friends from university, in fact – but at the Fringe you see four or five shows a day, and it’s impossible for everyone to see everything they want to unless they split up.
A few months ago I went to see 1984 at the Almeida Theatre, and I went by myself. An unexpectedly joyous side effect of this excursion was that I got chatting to the chap sitting next to me, who turned out to be an actor with whom I got on very well. I came home to my flat mate that night saying “I made a friend!” in the excited tones of a six year-old girl, which amused her greatly. However, she went to a vlogging event today where she had exactly the same experience, and it was lovely to hear her gleeful description of making a brand new friend in her mid-twenties.
We all have friends from various walks of life: primary and secondary school, college, university, work, and in my case, a summer school for gifted and talented teenagers (I’ll tell you about it later). These people have seen us grow up and go from being starry-eyed youngsters to bleary-eyed adults. They have been with us through crises, triumphs, boredom, hangovers, exams, dinner parties and summer days in the park. A shared history with a friend is a wonderful thing.
The thing about these friends is that they have known you for long enough to make an educated assessment of how much they like you and want to spend time with you. They have years of experience of your whims and ways under their belts, so to a certain extent you know that they have a firm grasp of who you are deep down. Someone you went to Brownies with is not going to judge you based on a moment of verbal incontinence that happens in your twenties, for example.
Making friends as an adult – whether they’re a new colleague or a stranger at the theatre – is an added bonus to the strange situations life throws at us, because these fully-formed people meet you and make a judgement about being friends with you based purely on who you are now. They don’t know anything you’ve done in the past, the places you’ve travelled to or the greatest successes you’ve had. They decide to like you based entirely on what you say and do in that first moment of meeting, and that is just brilliant.
Your friends are absolutely right to love you for who you have been, but your new friends are equally correct in liking you for who you are now. Clearly, the result of your endeavours to become a proper grown-up person have worked a lot better than you could have imagined.
Have a genuinely spectacular Friday.