I had the best week last week.

What happened you may well ask.

Did I pick the winning lucky lottery numbers? Nope.

Did I unearth hidden antiques in the loft among the Xmas decorations and the cobwebs? Nope.

Did an ancestry search reveal I am actually descended from royalty and not sheep rustlers like I thought? Nope.

The best week brought me my friends. Friends I had made but never met. Friends, nonetheless, that as soon as I met, I felt I had known them for years. If anyone ever said to me that social media is shallow and pointless, I would argue with them every day of the week that it has a place in our lives. It’s a place where we can find likeminded people, where connections are made, and love can be found. It’s where I have found friends.

We weren’t created to be alone. Friendship is like oxygen. We need it to thrive. Our happiness depends on our network of friends.

So this happened. We had a fab visit from @chronicallyjenni, a wonderful, passionate young lady who is a great friend and supporter of Neo Walk. Through the magic of social media and Zoom calling, Jenni and I have often spoken and meeting her felt like an old friend just calling for a cuppa. In real life though she got to meet Team Neo Walkies too, in all their barking slobbery hairy glory. Nothing can prepare you for that!

Jenni got to make her own walking stick as well. Some social visit huh! I did refrain from asking her to do a spot of ironing and painting though, giving her a job in the workshop seemed plenty! I hope we did enough to tempt her to a return visit to York.

Fast forward two days and I got to meet @rubyrouxbijou in all her vintage, quirky Scottish magnificence. What a lady, such an energy and warmth, and all those Scottish swear words were a feast for the ears!

We met at a huge Vintage Clothing fair, and together we rummaged the rails, dug into piles of luxurious velvets and lace, and fell in love with the most unlikely things. A vintage French christening pin, a delicate ancient wedding veil, old shoes with smells and stories of dancing and journeys to tell. It was so great to finally meet her.

My funny old life has taught me we meet people for so many different purposes, and an acquaintance may or may not quietly slip into the friendship category. There are reasons we find different types of friendship like shared experiences, history, and convenience. Think reason, season or lifetime.

Some types of friends come into our lives for a reason and aren’t meant to turn into friends for life. Quite often we meet people for a purpose and then we move on. They teach us something, or we teach them, we finish the assignment and that’s the end of it. Friends for a reason help us to grow and learn, they expand our interests and help us heal.

Friends for a season are my least favourite kind of friendship, built on convenience, ease or availability.  Friends forever works better for me, but that isn’t how it always works out. I lost some of these seasonal friends when I was ill and became disabled. I realised I became inconvenient and largely unavailable, possibly an embarrassment too, so they soon stopped calling. It was difficult to deal with at the time and an extreme way to discover who your real friends are! However I am so I happy I did, because then you’re left with your forever friends.

Friends for a lifetime are my best type of friends, they hang on to us no matter what the shit storm is, they know our secrets and have shared our highs and lows. They may be very few and far between, but they are worth waiting for. We might have acquaintances we have known for years, but best friends for a lifetime are those that see us, know us, get us, and still love us, warts and all. I have wonderful friends for a lifetime and I am thankful for them every day.

I want to meet more of you and I want more of us to meet more of us.

This year on 6th and 7th July, Neo Walk will have the most colourful stand at the NAIDEX exhibition at the NEC Birmingham. Let’s make Neo Walkers into Neo Talkers, come along and arrange to meet a friend you’ve made in our wonderful online community. Let’s make it the place where lots of us say it’s where we first met.

Tag a friend in the comments that you want to meet.

Let’s make it happen. Come along and let’s say it’s great to meet you.

See you soon,