Friendship is such an essential part of life. I wholeheartedly believe it's the most important part. Our friends are the people we choose to love unconditionally without it being required. Along the way, they become family and they rub off on us which makes them a representation of us. They help shape who we are, what we do, and some of the decisions we make.
I have three who have impacted my life in the biggest ways. Each is so different, yet so valuable because of what they taught me. I've learned all the ways to love someone in all the stages of my life. The first friend I ever made taught me things like sharing, the best ways to use my imagination, and simply how to just be a good friend. I learned the importance of confidence and humility from my best friend. And the friend I made in college taught me that the right people will always make time for you. In their own unique ways, they've each found permanent places in my heart.
1. My first friend
The first friend I ever made on my own. No organized play dates or parental guidance. Just two kindergarteners on the school bus. I was shy but super impressed by her "Dora the Explorer" backpack, so I sat down. As it turned out, she loved books and Barbies as much as I did and it was the start of something great.
She would set the standard for every friend I would ever make. She is the reason for many of my favorite memories, and the ones I've held onto the longest. All the way back when we couldn't help but be innocent and wide-eyed. When our imaginations made her backyard and bright yellow bedroom seem like they were nothing short of the whole world. It was with her that I would get my first crush on a boy, watch my first episode of "Saturday Night Live," and love another family almost as much as my own.
Having her in my life is something I'm so grateful for. She has so much passion and a huge heart, and discovering that people are that great at such a young age is a massive blessing. She made a huge mark on my life and I'm pretty sure my parents will probably continue asking how she is until the end of time.
And no matter how many fights and make-ups or how much time and distance come between us, taking a seat next to hers will forever be one of my best decisions. There couldn't possibly be a better introduction to real friendship. And she is still someone I'm so proud of, whose strength I admire, and who will hold a space in my heart forever. Getting to watch her grow and come into her own, even if only from my Twitter feed, is something I look forward to.
I'm not sure I've ever told her any of this and I think it's important that I do.
2. My best friend
I feel like people have different criteria for what makes a best friend, or the many if we're lucky to find more than one in our lives. Mine is smart, silly, gorgeous, a cautious but decent driver, genuine, punctual, determined, and passionate. She makes time for the people she cares about. She always makes me feel valued in whatever amount of time I get with her.
But one word, above all others, comes to mind right away when I think about her. Lucky. I'm lucky to know her, lucky to love her, and so lucky that she loves me back. And it's not that I feel undeserving, I just sometimes can't believe I get to share my life, my bad jokes, and my complaints with someone so special.
I didn't get close with her until high school, which bums me out. But it didn't take long to realize I'd want her in my life forever. She's truly extraordinary in every sense. The kind of person who could be President, CEO of a Fortune 500, or a brain surgeon, but wouldn't want the spotlight that comes with those kinds of gigs. She's focused on being great but never expects attention for it. With everything she has going on, it'd be easy for her to get caught up and not realize how amazing she is or how far she's come. And I think I was put in her life so she has a reminder. I'm in awe of her and I never forget to tell her so.
I seriously don't know what I'd do without her. I know people say that a lot, but I'm not exaggerating. She brings my life so much balance. And I don't know if that's something I need because I'm a Libra or just because I'm human. But when I feel crazy, pathetic, or like I'm just being too much, she brings me back to normalcy. She's my opposite when it comes to the way I generally act and think. But we have things in common that matter to me that make me feel less alone. We're always on the same page and I feel like she trusts what I believe in no matter how wild it may be.
No matter how long we go without seeing each other, we both have a way of making the other feel loved. Little things let me know when she's thinking of me. She still sends me letters because she knows how much I love them and I tell her things no one else knows. I feel better just knowing I have her in my life. I guess that's why we do weird things like FaceTime while "The Bachelor" is on but never actually speak unless it's during commercials.
It's the kind of love I expect will last forever. And I think that's why it's the best.
3. The friend I found in college
I quickly realized that friends that are made in college are different. They're the people we're with for extended amounts of time, they see us in our worst moments, and they still don't get tired of us. It's a love I don't take lightly.
Admittedly, finding people in college that I could connect with was the scariest part for me. I've always been so attached to my friends from home and I seriously thought I was going to have such a hard time meeting people when I got to school. I didn't know anyone else when I got there, and my roommate kind of sucked so I didn't have an instant friend as I'd hoped.
And I think what makes finding friends at this stage in our lives so difficult is that we aren't all on the same track. We're all physically in the same place, but not mentally. Our priorities are all so different. Some people are all about school work and getting the degree so they can get onto the next stage of their lives. Others are majoring in parties and beer pong, and minoring in getting an education. Some are in relationships that are so serious they don't have time for much else. I've enjoyed times with all of those people, but they don't make a huge impact.
But the stars aligned and I found my person amidst all the chaos. She really is unlike any other friend I've ever had. She's someone I can spend every day with, and each of those days will be wonderful. Or I can go months without seeing her and feel just as loved. She's someone I learned how to trust immediately. I remember having the deepest conversation the first night we met. She took me by surprise, and now I can't imagine my life without her.
I feel safe and understood because her priorities closely line up with mine. She takes her grades seriously and has a GPA that honestly puts mine to shame, but she makes time for other things. She's wild, but not every weekend. She actually understands sports so the games are more fun with her. Everything we do feels like a brand new adventure, which is rare because sometimes college just feels like one big routine. But even just finding a new brunch spot is a bit of excitement.
We can stay up all night and I can say the wildest things that are on my mind without feeling judged. Or we can spend an entire day just watching stand-up comedy and not say anything at all and just be laughing. And even if there are a thousand things we could be doing on a Friday night, just being with each other and having no plans is fine.
As someone who gets in my head a lot and worries if I'm bothering people, I love that she never makes me feel bad for being around all the time. She makes time for me, and I do for her. We all have a lot on our plates, but the right people will always find the time without it being a big deal.