Question: At what age do we stop learning valuable lessons?
Answer: There's no such age.
We grow and change throughout the phases of our lives. Hopefully our experiences, both the good and the not-so-good, will add to the paragraphs that make up the chapters of our lives. Personally, each time I think I have it all figured out, a monkey wrench is tossed in that shows me I don't know nearly as much as I thought. Regardless of what I've gone through, one constant I've always had are my friendships. My group of true friends is somewhat small and I prefer it that way. It's more intimate and somehow more real. But be careful, you don't always see who is real and who is not until that friendship is tested, when something comes up that neither of you expected. A true friend will be there no matter what. To offer you that support, care and love they have always expressed. The not-so-true friends will vanish in the wind. I had such an experience recently. I was the "friend" when I was needed, but as soon as I disagreed with something, that friendship crumbled to nothing, and I was left flailing with something that affected my livelihood. I don't claim to know everything but, a "friend" would not have done what was done to me. That much I do know. That experience has shown me and reinforced my belief in keeping my group small, and in being careful with those who quickly say the word "friend"...See... another lesson learned.
Message: Don't call me friend unless you mean it.
On a completely incredibly awesome note, there are so many people who have greatly enriched my life. Some have been at my side for years and some only for a spell, but I can tell they are gonna be lifers. They are my friends. They are my tribe, and my life wouldn't be the same without them!
Advice: When new people or old "friendships" reappear, assess them with a keen eye. Don't toss away the old for something shiny and new... because everything that glitters ain't gold. Maintain and treasure those real friendships. They're your tribe. Keep 'em and love 'em hard!