Not quite, but there is quite a simple solution. You can set up a gmail forward on your old email address.
The first thing to do is set up a new gmail (or other) email address. Once you have done this log into your old gmail and go to the settings.
Then click on Forwarding and Pop Tab
Next select Add a Forwarding Address
Enter your new email address into the box.
Gmail will send you an email to your new email address asking if it is ok to forward all mail, click on the link provided.
The last thing is to delete the origional copy as its now being sent on to your new email. Select from the list beside your verified email address
After that you never need to check your old gmail again as you will receive all the email in your new account, and over time your friends will learn your new email address.