It seems that as you get older, the meaning and value of friends changes quite drastically. Rather than people with whom to spend time and have fun, friends become a more integral part of your heart and soul. They become the cornerstone of your sanity, the haven in the night. And you realize that it is the quality of your friendships that makes life both bearable and beautiful.
Some of those friends are ones you've had since childhood, and months pass between times of contact. But that bond, that understanding and unconditional acceptance, that pure love, stays in your heart every day. Those are the friendships in which nothing is questioned, nothing is judged, nothing is expected, and everything is appreciated. How rare and precious those friendships are.
Then there are the friends that haven't been in your life nearly as long, but have left just as strong an impact. The friends that you know will always be there in the future, through the weddings and funerals, the times of elation and the times when you just want the world to end. Sometimes you know within a short time who those people are, and sometimes down the road, you discover that you were wrong about them - that they are not the friends you thought they were. And sometimes you discover that the ones you never knew would be those types of friends are the ones that actually become your best friends.
But I think the biggest realization comes when you are at your lowest point. You look around you and find that few are by your side. But the ones that are - they are the truest treasure.