It’s crazy if you think back about 10 -15 years and see how things change, but more importantly how you’ve changed.
When I was growing up in school, friends were more than just a sort of cultural capital – they held meaning to who you were as a person and also gave you a sense that everything was going to be alright once you were with them. You’d play games in the yard, be each other’s partner during school projects and have sleepovers every weekend (aka movies, junk food and telling each other’s secrets!). Life was fun but more importantly, it was safe.
Then as the years go on, gravity takes force and tries to separate you a little bit.. You start secondary school; You’re in different classes in school.. you have different interests out of class.. You may even have to move school. But even still, despite all this, you always find ways to be at each other’s side whenever you can. You don’t have work or other commitments to worry about, all you have to think about is ‘who’s going out with who?’ And ‘what film are we going to see at the weekend?’ Or ‘Pleaasse can I go to the disco on Friday night?!’
But through all the memories, tears and drama which accompanies being a teenager, you know your best friends are always there for you – more than just a friend, but another sibling.
Unfortunately, it’s usually when you’ve passed this stage that you realise how much more you should have treasured that inseparable bond.
Now, nearing 21 years of age I realise this and relish every minute together I get to spend with my girls (Although ironically, our catch ups seem to be more and more sporadic due to everyone’s increasing responsibilities, but I’ll get to that later).
Finishing school meant more than just getting Leaving Cert results, it allowed us to see how we could function without the safety net of our beloved friends. With a group of four or five people, it’s highly doubtful if not impossible that all of us would end up in the same college, let alone course! But it made us become independent, and as cheesy as it sounds, spread our wings a bit with out first taste of freedom.
As we’ve grown up and gone our separate independent ways; we’ve grown as people too. That means more than just moving to college, meeting new people and learning how to cook – it also means we’ve developed the ability to love and respect the relationships we have (and also the ones we’ve lost).
Now, it could be weeks or even months between when our group of friends can all get together for a catch up and we no longer have the freedom to live in each other’s hair.
Regardless of this and the seemingly sentimental, reminiscent tone of childhood memories which underpins this piece – it is perhaps now, over all of other times throughout the years I would say that the strength and bond of our friendship has never been stronger.
Yes, we may not be able to talk to each other every day, or see each other every week – but what we have is stronger. Now we are at peace with the knowledge and the trust that we will always be there for each other if and when needed; we will always be there with an open ear; a welcoming hug; and a cup of tea (or a bottle of vodka if the situation arises).
It is, in definition, a friendship which has stood the test the time. As they always say, you know you’re best friends when you can go for weeks without talking, but when you see each other you can just pick up where you left off.
These are the words I say to myself when I’m missing my girls and so these are the words I’m reminding myself with this week as one of my best friends is moving to another country for a few months for college (albeit it’s only an hour away) and we all prepare for the craziness which comes with starting back to college in September. This no doubt means we won’t get to see as much of each other once again and will find it harder to stay involved in each others lives as much as we would like to. But that’s okay, because that’s how life is.
But it’s mostly okay, because I am proud.
I am proud of the strong, courageous and independent women my friends have all grown up to be. I am proud of how much we have all achieved over the years and how much we have all accomplished. I for one, know I wouldn’t have gotten to the place I am or be half the person I am without their support and love.
Most of all, I am beyond proud to be able to call them my friends; my closest sisters; my soulmates. Finally, I understand what friendship should truly be about.
From cradle to grave.
Love always, A xo