I think it is hard to make new, good, close friends as you get older. The ones you have tend to be people you’ve known a while and I guess you tend to spend the majority of your time with your girlfriend, boyfriend, wife or husband.
I don’t make new close friends easily. I think it’s because I’ve been burnt too many times, taken in and let down or just because they are extremely unreliable. I like to think I’m a good judge of character nowadays. And the times you get somebody that everyone raves about, I’ll usually see through the bullshit and spot them for what they are deep down.
Aside from my oldest friends and fellow tripod legs I went to school with, I’ve actually had the good fortune of meeting some great people over the last few years. The Coach, Finn, Boobs and Willow, have all been there when it’s mattered and will be friends for life. But one friend I’ve known for about 12 years and is very important, is Merlin.
Possibly the hardest working, most talented individual I have ever met. He went from being one of the crowd, occasionally confident but often shy, to standing out head and shoulders above everyone else.
A black belt in Karate, a Sensei himself, a world renowned leader on Microsoft products (trust me, you’d see if you Googled him!), a husband, photographer, a resident on THE Wall Street, a survivor and most of all, a great friend.
Over the years Merlin has turned his hand to most things with great success. While we spent our late teens getting drunk, he spent his working his way up the corporate IT ladder to a worldwide recognised status. I took him surfing once, he stood within 5 minutes. He took up Karate when he was 17 and now teaches it himself AND studies with the grand master in Japan. He had a bash at Snowboarding and by all accounts is now a regular showcasing his skills in Vermont. He liked some of my photos, so decided to take up Photography – he now produces images that are magazine cover-worthy! He took up mountain biking and….well you can guess the rest!
The guy is an actual wizard. He makes magic happen, in every sense of the word. You spend time with him and it’s like the spotlight shines on you that little bit more too. Never a dull moment, never a boring story, every experience shared with him enriches your life further.
Now to any outside reader, this may seem a little sycophantic. But I think that when somebody is one of the most driven, hard working and inspiring individuals you’ve met, it should be mandatory to give credit where credit is due. He’s also a central figure in these rambling stories I tell. If he isn’t in them, he’s shaped my opinions and views in some way.
It’s important to note that he isn’t one of those people blessed with good fortune in everything they touch. The kind of person that does exactly what they want in life and possesses no humility, yet still seems to succeed at everything they try. Merlin is the opposite of this. Through a mixture of mental titanium toughness, talent, humility, strength in adversity and a discipline for hard work that seems to have been forged in another time and place, this is one individual who deserves anything and everything good that comes their way.
Of course being jealous of other people is never a good thing. But it is always so much more refreshing, when it is an individual who deserves every bit of success that comes their way. Especially when they have worked so hard for it.
You can usually count the people you can really rely on on one hand. Merlin is on that list for sure.
The word average could never be used in the same sentence as this guy. I accept I may never reach the heights he has, but it gives me great pleasure just being along for the ride.