Friend (noun): A person whom one knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual affection, typically exclusive of sexual or family relations.
I’ve grown up knowing that I have never been a person to have a lot of friends, but the ones I have, I consider them to be close friends and I keep them, forever. People often tell me that they think I have a lot of friends. I don’t. I’m social and outgoing, so I talk to a lot of people. That doesn’t mean the same thing as having a lot of friends. There is a difference, an important difference in my opinion.
I get annoyed everytime I hear or see the word friend thrown around in the wrong use. I hate it when the word friend is used as a verb, such as, “I friended someone on Facebook today.” The word friend isn’t a verb; the word friend is a noun. The word friend is a noun because a friend is a living person (or animal, I say animals count) who have a mutual affection for each other.
Last week, I talked to a dear friend whom I hadn’t spoken with in a really long time. We used to talk multiple times a day, then life happens and we talked less and less. But, here is the thing just because we talk less doesn’t make us any less of friends. I say this because over the years we have seen each other at our best, at our worst, at our happiest, at our saddest. We have shared so much together that our connection with each other is deeper than us having to talk every day. That is true friendship. She is my friend, as I am hers.
When I called her, she was having a bad evening. Without even thinking she told me about her troubles and just like that we fell right back to how it felt when we talked to each other daily. It was that simple. Just a phone call and it felt like all the months hadn’t past since we last spoke. We laughed at how annoying people can be. We chuckled about how difficult it is to raise children. We agreed in how stressful work can get. We talked through her challenging evening and as friends do I listened, just listened. Until she asked for my opinion. Then I gave her my opinion in a way that was honest but left it open for her to make her own opinion. She listened. I listened. She talked. I talked. Then, she paused for a moment.
After the pause she said, “Amber, I have to tell you something.” My heart skipped a beat because I thought something really bad was going to come out of her mouth. I told her she could tell me anything. Her response, “I’m worried about you.” Another pause and heartbeat skips later, I asked her why. She went on to say that I’m not taking my own advice and she reminded me of a quote I used to always say, “Live What You Love.” She challenged me by asking questions about if I was really living what I love … her clue to me that I wasn’t truly living what I love was the lack of entries on ThinkingWords. See, this was the friend who was with me when I first started ThinkingWords FIVE years ago. This was one of the small circle of people who read my first posts and told me to “go for it”, aside from my husband, this was my biggest cheerleader to get this blog started. This was the woman, the friend, who said if I didn’t try, I would never know. This was the friend who was with me the morning I posted my first post that had over 100 views in an hour. She has been the friend, who every once in a while gives me the kick in the rear I need. When we hung up the phone, I took a moment to think about what she said, to realize that what she told me was correct. I promised myself I would make an entry. Then life happened. I didn’t make an entry. I worked late one evening. I bought a new car another evening (that is an entire story in itself). I hung out with the family this weekend. I lived. I lived what I love, in many ways.
Then today, I saw the mail on the table. I knew what it was before I opened it. I knew that my friend sent me something that I wouldn’t be able to ignore once I opened it. She had given me a clue so I knew what was in the package. To be honest, I was eager and excited to open it. But, I was also a little scared because I knew that I would have to face a question once I opened it. Here is what I opened:
Two bracelets, one says “Live What You Love” and the other says, “Oh, The Places You’ll Go” … For those who don’t know, the second is my absolute favorite book. In fact, we have four copies in our house. The first, the copy I was given at high school graduation. The second, the copy I bought because I thought I lost my first copy and was devastated. The third and forth, copies for my children that every year of school I have their teachers sign for them. I plan to give them each a copy, as a surprise, when they graduate high school (thanks pinterest for the idea).
I really don’t need, nor do I want a lot of friends in life. That isn’t me trying to piss people off or sound arrogant, I really just want the friends who I have. Each of you are so special and to this particular friend, I love you so much. Thank you for once again being there to cheer me on. It’s funny how life has happened for us both over the years, yet some how we are right there when the other needs it most. Thank you, my friend. I’ll wear these two new bracelets with pride. They will be a walking reminder of not just two of my favorite quotes, but a reminder of one of my favorite friends.
May you all have the small group of friends you need when you need them. As you get older, you need less friends, but need the ones you have even more. And, also important, may each of you Live What You Love … and remember if you do Oh! The Places You’ll Go.