An Open Letter To My Best Friends Throughout The Years
Whether we met in high school, university or college. Whether we worked together, housed together or survived life together. For a moment of time we were the best of friends. Today I'd like to talk to you.
Maybe we aren't best friends anymore. Maybe we aren't friends anymore. Maybe we had a fight, moved in different directions in life and had to say our goodbyes, naturally grew apart as people do, or perhaps there isn't a clear reason at all. There are a million and one reasons why people come and go in your life, and today I want to celebrate the moments you were present in mine.
Change is rarely easy. Endings are often sad. But it would be so very unfair to negate the impact our friendships had on me. Now, I can't speak of the impact I had on you, I don't really know.. and wouldn't want to assume, but what I can speak of, is how you impacted me. What lessons you taught me, the love you gave me, the sisterhood we created and the memories I will cherish forever.
I like to think I'm a friendly person who falls into friendships quite easily, but those who fall into my close circle wouldn't be loosely described as friendships, but rather fall into the category of sisterhood/family. I'd say I have always been an open book, wearing my heart on my sleeve and happy to connect with people. Reflecting back on how I entered into friendships, my expectations of my friends (and myself), the effort/time/energy invested, I would say I have changed in some ways. I'm willing and eager to welcome friends into my life, but have become selective and mindful with the energy I give to those around me. Most likely a combination of maturing and growing a of my family. For me, gone are the days where you spent 8+ hours with your friend group at school, or lived with your girlfriends, or spent every weekend together hitting up some kind of gathering. And while I am happy to be in a different stage of life (one that consists of being a graduate, homeowner and mother), how I invest in friendships looks differently.
I have specific people in mind as I write this post. Strong, beautiful and kind people who have come and gone in my life. Some stayed for a brief moment, acting as an intense role supporting and encouraging me when I needed it most. Some stayed for awhile, invested in my life and my family. Some taught me lessons gracefully and humbly, others quick to burn but forgiving in nature.
I look back at pivotal moments in my life, and the people who were present for them. I often associate struggle with connection. The times I was in my deepest holes, often resulted in strong loving connections. And because of that, no matter the details, you will all hold a special place in my heart..because those pivotal moments- those heartbreaking, overjoyed, tough and profound moments- will forever be remembered with you by my side.
I speak to you all when I say this:
You were impactful
You are cherished
You brought joy
You are appreciated
You built trust
You were influential
You are loved
You are irreplaceable
I think about our friendships from time to time, as I celebrate milestones that we once spoke about experiencing together. Grieving losses without chatting it out with you, choosing between tough paths without a your perspective, letting my inner child dance without reservations, or you dancing just as obnoxiously.
As I get older, the more I value the quality and growth within my friends. The friends I have are the ones who are in the trenches with me fighting for me, beside me, or with me. The type of friends who sit in my grief- no matter how uncomfortable. The type of friends who genuinely want to see me live a meaningful life. The type of friends who call me out .. kindly and gracefully, who apologize when need be, who forgive just as often. And more often then not, the best friends throughout my life were those types of friends too. And for that, I am forever grateful.
Best friends from high school. The ride or dies who stayed late decorating for prom, who encouraged my recovery after my car accident, who jammed in the music room, who gave a shoulder to cry on, who hosted the bonfires, who drove me home from the parties when I drank more than I should have... thank you. High school is an influential time in someones life. You created the foundation for friendships. You showed me loyalty. You taught me to have fun again when happiness was hard to find. You forced me to learn to laugh at myself. And you taught me that kindness always wins.
Best friends from university. The immediate best friend status of friends. The ones who became family over night, who accepted me just as I am and loved me, who came home every weekend with me, had sleepovers like we were five, kept me company in my three-hour women studies lectures and 8 a.m. psych 101.... thank you. University is quite different from high school. You taught me to own who I am. You taught me to set boundaries. You sang at the top of your lungs with the windows down with me. You showed me that hard work doesn't always look same way. You taught me the power of your mind. You taught me that the only person who can fix your life, is you. You showed me the incredible beauty in true sisterhood. You taught me that reciprocal friendships actually exist. You taught me to take a break. You taught me honesty and acceptance. You taught me that letting go is hard. You taught me soul mates exist.
Best friends from college. The small classroom filled with people in every stage of life. You taught me to loosen up and let go of perfection. You reminded me the power of empathy. You encouraged my growth in advocation. You taught me friends can celebrate your wins genuinely. You taught me no one path is the same. You taught me that everyone is trying their best. You taught me about facing hard, scary moments with courage and grace. You taught me death can be peaceful.
Best friends from work and everywhere in between. The quick besties, fast besties and slow besties. The ones that fought for it, came easily or had a roller coaster of emotions.
You reminded me the strength I had. You grieved my losses like it was your own. You challenged me, and allowed me to challenge you. You taught me rawness and vulnerability. You taught me not to take things personally, to lower my ego, to actively listen. You complimented my weaknesses, leaned on my strengths, and encouraged my growth. You sat in the silence, the noise, the chaos, the uncomfortable. You laughed till you peed, drank till you puked, cried till your eyes puffed close, hugged till it hurt, and loved genuinely.
I truly believe the people in your life are there for a reason. Sometimes, the great friends come and go too fast and sometimes they stick around. I feel stuck in a paradox of growth. When I look back to the girl I was in high school to who I am today.. I am almost unrecognizable.... and yet I feel the same. I've shifted into an open book with boundaries, a generous heart with reservations, and an optimist with realistic expectations. I still don't care what people think, I'll sing Mamma Mia in the middle of the store and dance without care. I'll drop a watermelon in Sobey's and laugh at myself as I clean it up. I'll be honest with my feelings and open with my reservations. Perhaps the biggest difference is the certainty and peace I now feel; that even though I may feel lost or defeated at times, the certainty of peace is present- and I don't believe I had that before. Feeling confident in my ability to do hard things, make difficult decisions, follow what's important to me, seek validation internally, and root myself in truth, has all contributed to the woman I am today.
I wish for you nothing less than a life full of laughter. A family full of love. A heart full of passion. And a true understanding of the beautiful impact you had on my life.
All my love,