I had the fortune of spending time with my mother last week. And as it happens most of the time, she started telling me stories about my childhood.

She told me when I was a child, I would address every acquaintance as a friend. Be it a 5 year old boy or a 50 year old uncle. If I spent time with them they were my friends. It was interesting for them to see me call someone a friend in such short time.

This got me thinking about how I used to see a friend as a child.

My heart was open, like any other child’s. I was ready to give and receive energy and love without inhibition.

In my late teens I witnessed the advent of social media. I had hundreds of friends but with none did I share the same innocent, impromptu friendship as I did with a kind 50 year old uncle who’d help me get my kite stuck in a tree when I was little.

What has changed? And why, despite so many virtual friends, I am not deeply in touch with them.?

As I grew up, I learned to be more cautious and guarded, something that happens to everyone as they age.

Nicety was seen as naivety.
I had this outlook until not too long ago.

But lately I realized I can choose to have an open heart as a child. If I, in every interaction I have from now on, be open , sincere and loving to everyone I meet, I would make many friends. Friends who’d help just how the 50 year old uncle did.
I , in the process will find opportunities to help them. We might see each other only for a brief period, momentarily glance each other’s lives. But the open exchange of energy will make sure we meet the deepest existential need of man.

Of being remembered well.