More Than Friends
I have had the privilege to know some people in my life who not only changed it, but changed me from the inside-out. There is a really excellent quote that says, “We all let people into our lives, but you will find that really good friends let you into your own.”
I love this because I guess I feel it so deeply. I am constantly around middle schoolers, (and often adults who don’t act much older) and being “sure” of who you are and where you are going is the journey of a lifetime. Believe it or not, its a luxury to know how to be yourself, and some people (like me) had to practice hard to get there. Not all of us wake up comfortable and confident; not all of us know how to do and be the person we’re trying to convince everyone else we are.
My mom once said that when she turned thirty, everything changed for her. She said it was at that pivotal (sometimes dreaded) number, where everything slipped into focus and she suddenly became aware of herself in a way that was detached from the opinions, perceptions and scrutiny of others. I remember thinking, “Yeah right, like I’ll ever get there.” But, little by little, look by look, I find myself standing just a little taller, feeling just a little “more sure” of who I am and what I’m here for.
I am a big advocate of the idea that we need to, “live for something bigger,” and step outside of ourselves long enough to see what kind of an impact we are making in this life. I feel like friends are amazing lenses to help us do this. They have the distinct ability to reflect us in ways that we never would have been able to see ourselves without them. I would even go so far as to admit that I would not have been able to be the kind of person worth reflecting without having had some of their encouragement to grow into the person I’ve become.
I think that sometimes we underestimate the importance of those in our lives who are close to us. We smile at memories and then forget to call, we see a date slide by on the calendar as one more month passes without getting together and I think this is not only sad, but selfish in reverse. Because I know, with adept certainty, that I am a much better person when I am surrounded by some friends than when I am not. I am reminded of the person that they believe I can be and I am suddenly re-accountable to take back this version of myself that never would have existed without them.
Sometimes the word “friend” seems weak to me and insufficient in its small, six letters. But when you look up the term, the definition reminds you that a friend is a person who holds mutual affection for you–is a person who is on your side. They are life-partners, investors in the emotional bank of YOU! Friends are more than “friends,” they are even more than family sometimes; they are the hands that hold you and the feet that keep you grounded when your soul wanders. And so I want to thank all of my dearest friends for truly investing in me, because I never could have found myself without you.