I went to dinner the other night with one of my oldest friends. We have been friends for 31 years. We have been through boyfriends, babies, crazy families, mental illness, marriage, cancer and death in those 31 years. That is a lot of life lived. It occurred to me after we had dinner that it is almost as if we went to war together; only she knows what our childhood was like and only I know hers-truly, truly knows and let me tell you it was alike war at times. Oh yes, we had some wonderful times and opportunities and created cherished memories. But we also shared some experiences that I wouldn’t wish on anyone and I dare not even mention them here at the sheer horror of it all. Sometimes I cannot believe we made it out our our teenage years alive with the stupid decisions we made, but we did-just barely and not unscathed. We were parenting ourselves. We had no one to guide us , and the ones who tried we didn’t listen to. We were pretty young girls with a need for acceptance and desire to “fit in”, not unlike every young girl today.
But we are older now, 42 and 43 and have lived much life. We are wiser now (most days) and stronger still than we dare to believe. But if I could have a conversation with my 16 year old self I would tell her to stop worrying about “fitting” in and march to the beat of your own drum and don’t waste another minute on concerning yourself with what others think of you. I would tell her to remember the dreams you had for yourself to be at age 11, because that is probably where your passion lies when you are an adult. Trust your instincts, think big and out of the box, dare, try, fail. Try again.
When you are 12 and you have found a “Best Friend”, you have absolutely no conception of what being friends for 31 years looks like. It is just about writing notes and going to the Mall on Friday nights. (Oh wait my friend’s Mom wouldn’t let her go to the Mall on Fri nights;-) You have sleepovers and call boys on the phone, dress up in crazy clothes and walk the neighborhood. But then something happens, and it is in the blink of an eye-time happens, life happens, happiness and heartbreak happens and you find yourself looking back on 31 years of friendship shared some years in different states yet still shared.
It is an extraordinary thing to have friendship with a person that is 3/4 of your lifetime. I feel so very blessed to have shared so much life with my dear friend. She knows all of my deepest, darkest secrets, my joy and my sadness and loves me anyway. We spent a childhood together that at times was not easy, but we never would have made the lives we have made for ourselves now with out each other, and for that am grateful.
8th Grade Auburn Recreation Football Cheering