It seems like so long, and I suppose it has been a really long time, since I first met my best friend Matt. He and I met when I changed schools at the beginning of the sixth grade, and for the next several years until we graduated high school we were pretty much inseparable. I ended up far away for school, and he stayed closer to home, but we did manage to see each other for summers and holidays, and we visited each other twice during our undergrad years. As time has gone on and things have changed as far as location, it's become more difficult to see one another, but I always think about him a lot at this time of year, because I always remember that today is his birthday, December 23rd. We always used to have a laugh that he was older than me, though only by twenty-two days. That made him a 1980 baby, and me a 1981 baby. Matt and I do our best to stay in good contact, and we especially make it a point to catch up and chat on our birthdays. He and I have one of those friendships where, no matter what the time and the distance, we can always pick up right where we left off. We keep up enough on what one another is doing on a regular basis so that there isn't a lot of "catch up" time when we do get a chance to talk. We always joke about getting a chance to make a visit where we can really get caught up on things and see where one another lives, but it's been difficult both from a logistical and a financial standpoint. I'm in school full time, while he is in school part time and working full time. As you can probably imagine, that doesn't leave him with all that much time to do any relaxing or traveling. I suppose that it would be much better for me to try and make travel plans to get down to see him in south Florida at his fancy apartment, rather than having him and his wife trying to travel up to podunk Indiana to see me. It's just finding times for visits to line up that ends up being the hard part. I suppose that, on top of that, justifying spending time and money flying down to Florida for vacation is pretty tough when I have conferences to attend and traveling for my dissertation research coming up on the horizon. On the other hand, I never really do give myself a chance to get out anywhere, and I do save my money more than I spend it, so maybe at this point I owe it to myself and to my friendship with Matt to try and make plans to make a visit. After all those years that I lived in Florida, I really never made it down to south Florida except once, and that was definitely not a vacation. I have never seen the east coast beaches or visited any of the cities, besides Miami that one time. I guess, having just finished talking for about an hour to Matt on the phone and sending him my long distance birthday wishes, the possibility of making such plans is fresh in my mind and the motivation is there. I really just need to make notes and reminders to myself to keep the thoughts positive and the airline ticket searches going on a regular basis. Hopefully soon I'll have a trip planned and head down to see my best pal!