50 Thoughts: Life Doesn’t Flash in Front of Your Eyes

Originally published September 29, 2018

It sits in a box at the Cubs game with you.

It might be considered redundant to write about the power and purpose of friendship after just covering the topic yesterday, except that it’s not. If you’re lucky to have friends that span nearly the entirety of your life, time with them always offers fresh perspective.

I am blessed to have husband that goes out of his way on special occasions to make them, well, special. Knowing that spending time with friends is valuable to me, he gathered a bunch together and surprised me with a Cubs game. There, in a box, were friends from high school, college and my adult life, all together.

It seemed so full circle to talk with my high school friend while my daughter was feet away, talking with hers. Does she appreciate this moment? Will she and her friend still be in touch years from now? Because to me, seeing my old friends takes me right back to those days, grabbing lunch together or stopping at the 7 – 11 for a Diet Coke run before school. Or back to Armstrong Hall and some of the crazier stunts we pulled in and around our college dorm.

There’s something so affirming when you spend time with friends — especially those with whom you share a history with — because like a calendar marks the days, friends can mark your place in time. You were there with them. At school. At work. In the neighborhood. Families are special, too — this isn’t to say that family doesn’t pull an assist or two on your quest for validation from the universe. It’s just that those first friends are the ones you with which you learn how to become and individual outside that family unit. When you are young, you are a daughter and a sister. But when you enter your teens and spend more time at school and even at work, you gradually become YOU. These friends are your crash test dummies when it comes to test driving your emerging personality.

And your friends in adulthood, particularly for those of us with scattered families, become that surrogate family — the people you trust most with your own kids, the ones your willing to ask the most intimate questions (Perimenopause. Period.), the ones you laugh and cry with, sharing bleacher seats and couch cushions, car pools and meal trains. And as these people are in my life, that means I am in theirs. Now, regardless of time and place and consequence, the universe recognizes my existence. I might stink at making pies and can’t work a sewing machine, but one of that matters. I have friends.

Two of these friends today were at my wedding. One of them helped my husband plan a surprise party on my 30th birthday. I have decades! with these people. I am full of gratitude and hopeful all these faces today, as well as those outside this day at the ballpark, will be there for decades to come.  Feeling a little like George Bailey today.

Find a friend, make a friend, hug a friend, share a friend. Life’s so much richer when your heart is full.

Today’s recommendation: I already recommended A Little Life which is a fantastic representation of friendship through the ages, so I’ll go with Shotgun Lovesongs, another great story that leans toward a bromance.

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