I have had a lot of friends during my lifetime. Only a few are still around and most others have faded away. What I wanted to write was “I have a lot of friends and still do”, but that is just not reality.
As I have gotten older I realized there is a direct correlation to time on earth, age and friendship. I never thought this mathematical-like way of thinking would somehow relate to friendship. What do I mean by this mid-life crisis-like epiphany? The kinder gentler way of putting it is the older I get the less friends I have. I don’t mean that because I am older my friends have died off, although that is one equation that exists. However, the requirement for that one is that you must be in your 70s, 80s and if you are lucky enough 90s. I am not there yet. What I mean is that I reached a point in my mind, not consciously at first, that with each addition to my age the less time I have on this earth the more important it is to have less friends. I do not mean this in a mean-spirited way, although it could be misconstrued to be. I just don’t have time to waste is what I mean to say.
Now I must confess, I set this whole thing up to this moment so that I could use my favorite middle age word – squander. I do not want to “squander my life”. There I said, and it feels good. I could use this word all day. But if I did it would certainly lose impact. So I only use it on special occasions. I have purposely never looked up the meaning of this word. I have only gleaned its meaning in the context of Buddhism, whether from a book I have read or someone using it during a dharma talk. Does this only exist under the guise Buddhism? I would definitely perk up if it had been used in another context like say, finance. The announcer – “now don’t squander your money on needless purchases”. That would certainly work in that context. However, there is something to the phrase, “don’t squander your life” which has a deeper meaning than “don’t squander your money.” Not knowing the exact dictionary definition has meant I have had to feel out the meaning of squander. And the first word that comes to mind is waste, or in this case don’t waste or more to the point, don’t waste your time.
When we are young squander is commonplace. In fact I would venture to say that we in fact live in squander, which I guess would also be frivol. I must admit here I went to the online dictionary to look up the synonym of squasnder. There were so many words to choose from such as dissipate, consume, waste, lavish, expend, the list goes on. This begs the question why I chose the word frivol. I would say on the surface because it sounds like both an intelligent and fun word to use. So in a way my ego came into play here and I wanted you the reader to think I am smart and playful. But there is also another reason. I like words. I like how words are used. I like the feeling and sounds of words. Say the word frivol out loud slowly to yourself and let the image of the word come to your mind’s eye. What do you see?
In closing, I used to have a lot of friends, now I have less.