A lot of you were already in the picture when things were easy (read: college). You were there for the 2 a.m. hangouts while we procrastinated writing papers, you were there for the delicious hangovers in which we didn’t mind how awful we felt, because the previous night’s activities were so much fun. You were there for the hours we ‘wasted’ doing nothing but hanging out and laughing ourselves silly, which, when I look back on it, were never really ‘wasted’ hours at all.
Some of you came into the picture when things weren’t as simple (read: postgrad). When we had happy hours that we had to leave at a decent time because we had to get up in seven hours for work. When we stayed in together on a Friday night and split an $8 takeout order because we needed to save money this weekend. When we lamented together in the winter over expensive heating bills and the prices of plane tickets for holiday travel.
But no matter where you came from, or what stage of my life I was in when I met you, what you have in common is this: you were there (and still are there, always) when things were shitty.
You were there when the first hints of anxiety or depression or both began to manifest themselves in my life – which, as we learned together, often happens to people for the first time in their twenties.
You were there when I began to notice how much harder of a time I had with winter now than I did as a kid. When I became overwhelmed and saddened and sometimes even panicked about the constant darkness, the feelings of isolation, the belief that spring was never going to come.
You were there the first time I truly cried about my job, when my boss made me feel stupid or insignificant or inadequate or simply unseen, even if they didn’t mean to. You reminded me that this was normal, that this is part of growing up, that the only way to combat it was to get up the very next morning and go back, because that’s what a resilient person does.
You were there when my heart was shattered, regardless of whether or not the breakup was mutual or not at all my choice or totally my choice. You reminded me that I felt broken because I had been brave enough to allow myself to love and to be loved. You reminded me that no matter how long it took, I would eventually be okay.
You were there to laugh with me when I first realized that my body can no longer process hangovers the way it did when I was twenty-one. When you sat on the couch with me and laughed and watched four hours of Netflix and ordered delivery with me, because the idea of moving was just too horrendous to me.
You were there when I lost a grandparent, or a parent, or someone else incredibly close to me, and I first began to understand how truly permanent death is.
You were there for me even when I was “so busy” and convinced that being “busy” was more important than maintaing my friendships. You were patient and understanding and you welcomed me back with open arms when I finally woke up and realized how much more important my relationships are than my work – how my career could never bring me the same type of joy that the people in my life did, no matter how much I loved my job.
You’ve always been there.
When things were easy, and fun, and so incredibly amazing – the kind of amazing where we would pause and wonder how it was possible to be this happy. And you were there when things were ugly. When I couldn’t imagine going into work for one more day or when I had to go to sleep alone on the first night after my breakup or when my anxiety got so bad that I couldn’t even put it into words. You were there. You still are.
You’re there when things are perfect. You’re there when things are shit. Because that’s what a real friendship in adulthood is.
It’s being there for each other, with a fierce and unshakable loyalty, no matter what the world looks like outside.
And knowing that, knowing I have you, just makes it a little bit easier to get up in the morning. Thank you.