Having An Older Best Friend Is Everything And More

Having An Older Best Friend Is Everything And More

She's 15 years my senior, but my best friend was made for me.

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When I was a newborn, my best friend was getting her first car and applying for her learner's permit. You see, she's 15 years older than I am and even though our paths didn't cross for almost three decades, I can't imagine my life without her in it.

I first met Janie at the preschool pick-up line. Her daughter and mine were in the same two-year-old class. She was the sweet blonde who brought the teachers goodie bags and gift baskets every chance she could. She was always wearing athletic gear and heading to go walk on the track at our local high school right after telling her daughter goodbye at the gate. She wore leggings like the rest of us young moms, piled her hair into a side braid like us, and came to the school with the same exhausted yet blissful look on her face that only mamas could understand.

There was just one thing different about her: it was easy to see that Janie was older than the rest of our group, though her daughter was the same age as ours. One morning, she invited me to go walk on the track with her. My parents were keeping my son for a few hours, so I accepted her invitation and tagged along. As we walked, we discovered we had so much in common: we had both used the same contractor to build our dream home, we lived within three miles of each other, we both had the middle name, and we both loved the N.C. State Wolfpack.

In many ways, we were immediately connected and the bond was effortless.

That was three years ago, and our friendship has only continued to deepen. Janie had her daughter late in life, on her 45th birthday. It was a complete surprise that bookended a decades-long marriage based on adventure and spontaneity. She and her husband owned a small cabin in the woods long before tiny houses were a thing. Though they had another house further in the city, every weekend they would retreat to their cabin, where they'd have campfire roasts, play music too loud, and stay up far too late for people in their late thirties. Then, they discovered they were expecting. They decided to build a larger home on the property, finally pave that driveway, sell the motorcycle and RV, and start really adulting.

Their daughter was born the following August. Mine was born a few months before her, in June. They are now best friends as well. I was there when Janie got the diagnosis that her speech and crawling delays weren't just the characteristics of a late bloomer. Rather, their daughter had a rare chromosomal defect that would mean developmental delays for the rest of her life. We sat on the couch together that same evening, read as much as we could about it, got emotional together, researched options from stem cell therapy to diet changes, and left changed people.

As I write this, I have just come home from a weekend-long beach trip with Janie. She called me on Thursday, while I was getting my kids in the tub. I was knee-deep in baby shampoo, towels, diapers, and pajamas and her number popped up on my phone. "Wanna come with us to the coast for a few days? Just pack up the crew and meet us down there." Though she'd aged, she still had that child-like excitement and enthusiasm that had defined her for so long. She also knew instinctively the exact moment to call, to snap me out of my frazzled mom daze and remind me that things like last-minute beach vacations really do exist.

I agreed, and I'm so glad I did. Janie and I are polar opposites in so many ways: we missed out on years and years of life together, we weren't in each other's weddings, we never knew each other as fun-loving college kids, and we don't have any memories together in our twenties. There are things like perimenopause that she discusses and I can't chime in just yet. Then again, there are things like Snapchat that I tell her about and she just rolls her eyes.

Having an older best friend is like having a built-in mentor, confidant, and trailblazer all at once. She's been there and done that no matter what curveballs I throw her way. The best part? She never judges me, not even once, because she knows what it's like to still be figuring it all out. Luckily for the both of us, we now get to figure it out together.

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I Know She's My Forever Friend

A forever friend is one of the most important people in your world.
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The bond that my forever friend and I have is something that I do not have with any other person in the world. This is a list of ways you know that you have a forever friend:

You never get tired of being around her

She is probably the only person in your life that hasn't begun to bother you for some reason or another, at some point in time. You could spend hours, or days, with her. Even the smallest things you do together are fun because you are with her.

No subject is off-limits

You tell each other everything, and I mean, everything.

Thinking about seeing each other over break

And of course, when you do see her

Your family is her family, and her family is yours

It's not weird for you to be at her house all the time, show up at strange hours, or just decide to spend the night even though you live three houses away. And of course, her family welcomes you in like you are another one of their daughters.

You two have a bizarre sense of humor that only you understand

Whether it is the nights you spend watching random YouTube videos at 2 a.m. that make you both laugh so hard you cry or the commercials on TV that are only funny to the both of you, only you guys understand the humor in certain situations. You have probably experienced some of the most embarrassing moments together, and if not together, then you got a vivid story of the event.

You have no filter when she is being overdramatic

You pick up where you left off

If you and your forever friend are anything like me and mine, we do not talk every single day. You may only speak once a week, but it will give you the opportunity to catch up and talk like you have talked every single day. There may be quick conversations to see how the other is doing because you know you are saving all of the important stories for when you see each other again. At this point, conversations don't even start with "Hi" anymore, you just jump right to the point and tell her what you need to.

You really don't have a choice when she needs to go to the mall

She would do anything to make you smile

Even when you are feeling down, your forever friend knows just the right thing to do to make you happy again. Whatever the case is, she will be there for you always. She will say, and do, just about anything that will make everything better.

And sometimes she just needs a reminder…

Cover Image Credit: PopSugar

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Outgrowing Friendships Is A Necessary Part Of Life

Let go of a friendship that was not meant to last.

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Why do friendships naturally begin to gravitate away from each other? Why is there an emptiness within the bond that used to be filled with excessive passion? Why does effort suddenly disappear? Why do we lose the pieces that once kept us together? At times I find myself unable to look at people who were a part of my past without tears fill my eyes to the point of exhaustion simply thinking of the friendship we used to possess. There are many moments I cannot understand why, when, and how we ended up going in different directions. It seems impossible to release the specialness we once shared. I cannot fathom how we have been walking in parallel routes without even a glimpse of each other. I wonder if there's anything I could have improved upon to save us. Or were we not meant to be rescued?

Appreciate that you are engaging in internal growth, even if it is at the cost of separation from those you love deeply.

The timelines of our lives do not always match with those around us. Sometimes as we fall into the pits of despair, our friends find inescapable love. Sometimes as our friends grieve burdensome pains, we begin to visualize ourselves in a new light. As our pathways begin to part due to our progressions and setbacks occurring at diverse times, we fail to acknowledge the extents of our personal developments because we are too invested in analyzing a friendship that was not meant to last. When we lose such friendships we take our strengths for granted. We fail to think of the person we have become throughout the course of these attachments.

Do not overthink distanced friendships or it will lead you to endless self-doubt and unneeded frustration.

We drive ourselves insane by shifting such blame upon ourselves when we are left on an empty road full of questions. Such questions will What could I have done to create such a disconnect within this friendship? Did I say something so exceedingly wrong to cause this hurtful shift? Did I bother this person with an unintentional act of thoughtlessness? Could I have been a greater friend? When we question, we doubt ourselves in ways we do not deserve. Recognition is needed to conquer the unsettling thought that there is not always a reason for everything.

As you find yourself contemplating if the connection still remains, acknowledge that the underlying meaning of this contemplation means that the bond has disappeared. As life changes, people change, and as people change, their most valued friendships come to a close due to the similarities fading. Although this is a saddening concept to grasp, it is one that everyone should be prepared to experience. Sometimes there is no reason behind a dying connection aside from the interruptions life brings. We wrongly search for an exact understanding of why specific friendships do not feel as exciting or as effort-filled as they once were. But rather, we must seek to appreciate a friendship for all that it has consisted of, and learn to be OK with the fact that some relationships are not designed to be repaired when all that is left to discuss is the past versions of ourselves.

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