Sunday, July 7, 2013

Friends- what would you do without them?

“If you live to be 100, I hope that I live to be 100 minus one day, so I never have to live without you.” - Winnie the Pooh

In 1969 I thought the world was coming to an end. My parents had decided, without consulting me, to move our family from Cleveland, Ohio to a small town in Virginia called Roanoke. I was 11 years old and believed that they were determined to ruin my life. All of my friends lived in Ohio, especially my best friend Kathy Rock. We met during our first year of life. Our mothers were best friends. And she was my favorite person in the whole world. Her dark hair and skinny body were a perfect contrast to my chubby form and blond hair. We went everywhere together. We knew each other’s secrets and shared each ideas. Now I was moving hundreds of miles away and I thought my world was ending.
Childhood Friends
Kathy, Janis, Paula and me/

We moved again in 1973 to Richmond, Virginia. That was an easier move. I hadn’t put down roots - i.e. made any important friendships, but in this city we all settled down. We expected it to become our home. And it did. My parents still live in the same house with a lot of the same neighbors. Even when someone leaves their house is still named after them, like “The Jones’ House across the street that was sold years ago.  The friendships we forged gave us the roots we needed to make this place our home.

Throughout the years I’ve formed friendships based on the different interactions I’ve had. I met people through my parents, at school, church, college, work, sports, and through other friends. With the internet I now make friends virtually around the world without ever meeting face to face. I love the variety of people I’m friends with. Some are mature, some intellectual and some just plain old fun!

My first friend Kathy and I had a falling at some point during our high school years. Neither of us can remember what happened, but we didn’t speak to each other for about 25 years. Early 2002 I went through a crisis and my life began to radically change. I reached out to my friends for help and in doing so I reconnected with Kathy. Once we caught up on the years of life “gossip” we were able to settle back into our friendship as if no time had past. Just like riding a bicycle we were coasting along!

Me & Julie
I have many rituals I share with my friends. Every time my longtime friend Hobby, and I are together we try to remember to share a prayer of gratitude for our friendship. My friend Casey and I love to listen to music and share our friendship by dancing. When my friend Julie and I talk to each other on the phone we end the conversation with “I love you,” because she is my soul sister. And whenever I communicate with Kathy I refer to her as “my Yankee slut,” a term of endearment only a true friend can say.

Consider starting a journal about your friends. Think of the fun you’ll have reflecting on the pages for years to come.

1. Make a list of your 7 closest friends current or past. Next to each name write 7 adjectives that describe that person. Dedicate a page to each person and doodle images and words that remind them of you. Send a copy of the page to the friend.
2. Collect pictures of your friends.
3. Write friendship memories - Ask your friend to do the same and e:
a. How you met
b. Crazy adventure
c. Helping each other
d. Favorite songs
4. Create a friendship character diagram - what do you value in a friend?
5. Explore ways you could be a better friend.

Me and Casey

Friendships grow, change, go through good times and bad. They are a necessary part of my lives. I have different friends for different reasons. I’m deeply close to some and casually close to others. But they are all important to me. I don’t know what I’d do without my friends.

“To the world you may be just one person, but to one person you may be the world.”
- Brandi Snyder

1 comment:

  1. Glad to call you friend, Karen. Great article. Sometimes I think we don't acknowledge how much each of our friends contributes to our lives, so here's my chance to say its been a great 35 years. OMG, 35 years???