Lesson #1: You cannot be afraid to pursue things that don’t make sense.
Whatever dream you want to chase, and no matter how ridiculous it seems, you have to go after it. Life is too short to not fully, completely, and fearlessly follow the things you are passionate about.
From the first day I met my beautiful best friend, she had the dream of being an actress. She was in the theatre program at my college, had done some small acting gigs on the side, but always had this dream of moving to California. So she did it. She packed her small car with everything she needed, she said goodbye to her family and friends, and she moved 27 hours, 1,700 miles away to get closer to that dream, to pave her future, to believe in something even when so many people shook their head, thought she was crazy, and didn’t agree. She knew in her heart that this was what she wanted, and even though it didn’t make sense to the rest of the world, she did it because it made sense to her.
Lesson #2: You have to be reckless sometimes.
My best friend’s move was crazy. It was semi-irresponsible. It was reckless—leaving a job, support system, and life she had known for a completely unknown, unstable future—but it was what she truly wanted. So she put aside her fears and she went for it. Without looking back.
Within reason, you have to do this sometimes. You have to put aside boundaries and fears and the little voice in your head saying no no no. You have to believe that following your heart is the right idea. You have to have faith that things will fall into place. And you have to be reckless and trust the unknown sometimes. Because true growth and true happiness comes when you are outside of your comfort zone.
Lesson #3: You have to hold on through the sh*tty days.
There will be many of these, in any change, journey, or decision. But you have to keep pushing through. You have to grab ahold of what makes you happy and quit living life through the rear-view mirror. Hold on through the b.s. and the tears and the confusion and the lows.
My best friend called me crying plenty of times. It wasn’t like she moved and suddenly walked into a world of happiness. She struggled to find a job, to make friends, to earn enough money to do fun things. It wasn’t easy. It was tough. It was super sh*tty, bone-breaking, faith-depleting tough. But she didn’t give up. She held on through the roommate fights, the work drama, the days she was completely broke and ready to give up. And slowly, she turned things around.
Lesson #4: You cannot be afraid to be alone.
People aren’t going to have the same dreams as you, even the people that are the closest to your heart. They might not understand you, might not agree, might flat-out tell you that you’re an idiot. But you cannot let this deter you. And you cannot let this change you.
Even if you’re journeying alone, even if you’re breaking off a relationship that you thought would last forever—you cannot be afraid to be alone. You have to be true to yourself, even if that is the hardest thing you’ve ever had to do.
Lesson #5: Distance does not determine the value of love.
My best friend moved across the country from me. Six states away. As I hugged her goodbye, I cried. I full-on bawled because I wasn’t sure of the next time I’d see her, or how close we would stay, or if our friendship would change. But then I learned something super important: distance should not, and will not ever determine the value of your love with another person.
This goes for relationships of any kind—family, friends, significant others—no matter the distance, your love should not change. There are phone calls, video chats, snaps, texts, picture mail, letters, cars, trains, taxis, and airplanes to bring you together. There is a bond that is stronger than the miles. And when you love someone, and they love you, you cannot let things like distance keep you apart. It will without a doubt be hard (as hell) but you have to commit to loving someone, despite what obstacles are in your way.
This is what I learned from my best friend. From the miles between us, from our flights, our plans, our visits to see one another. And our dreams that have pulled us in different directions, yet the bond that keeps us together. Stronger than ever.