I had a speaking gig in Baltimore last month that gave me the chance to spend 26 hours with my best friend from college, who now lives in Connecticut. We have gotten together every year for the past 30 years and our friendship has deepened through many life experiences, such as the joyful celebrations of weddings and children, and the compassionate support of divorce and death. I consider Martha not only my best friend but also the sister I always wanted.
Even though our paths have taken totally different directions, with her on the East Coast married with children and me living out West and single, when we get together we never miss a beat. It’s as if we are in school again, sharing the same issues and concerns, because that’s what happens when you’re with someone with whom you share such deep connection.
I always learn about myself when I am with Martha. In our short time together this year, cramming in as much talking, walking, shopping, and eating as possible, I was reminded why we both make the extra effort to get our yearly visits in.
Because nothing compares to a best friend who:
- Gives me complete permission to be myself
- Reflects back to me things I do and do not necessarily want to know about myself
- Totally supports me, from getting enough sleep to going shopping
- Gives me great perspective and contrast from our totally different lifestyles
- Helps us laugh at ourselves for the ridiculous antics of youth and—now
- Reminds me with her wisdom that loving someone is about what I give, not what I get
Who is your best friend? I hope you can see him/her more than once a year, but even if you can’t, I urge you to nurture these relationships. They are invaluable for both freedom and stability.