I grew up with a fantastic group of friends. Some of them are part of my life since I was 5 years old (really we met in kindergarten!). Others were added to the circle as we grew up, however, we, all together, go back since we were 12 years old.
We are now older, we would think smarter, definitely more experienced, we want to believe wiser. We have stuck together through 25 years of friendship where marriage, divorce, kids, distance, and loss has happened. But we are us, uniquely us, we encourage each other, we help each other, we give each other company, we complain about everyone and everything and we, sometimes, don’t see eye to eye (at all). I am a very fortunate and grateful person for having them in my life.
I have personally a great story about what friendship is all about, what my friends have taught me with their actions. I was 17 years old when I had a bad car accident. I broke my neck (C5) and back (L2 through L5), which meant I was so very fortunate to be able to tell the story, even more of fully recovering from it. The recovery took months and one constant through all those months were my friends. They took turns coming to visit me, they learned how to help me with changing clothes or with shower and bathroom duties, they helped eat when I was not able, learned to clean my wounds (I had the halo), and most importantly where constant emotional support.
We were young, just graduated from high school, we had boyfriends and we liked to party. We were wild in our own way. We were good kiddos that truly enjoyed going out and living life and so for the next few months, we held parties at my house so that I could be present, they slept in my house so that my parents could leave for the weekend to attend other commitments, they took me to therapy when needed and wherein the house the moment I would feel down and in pain. They were my rock.
I am so grateful for my friends for what the did during one of the most painful times in my life. I am grateful for their company, support, encouragement, compassion, and kindness. My love for them has only grown stronger as the last 25 years have passed and we remain as close as ever. Even though I chose to leave Panama and come to live in the US and therefore my life took a different route than theirs back home, we talk every day through Whatsapp and phone, always fully invested in each other lives. Always. That is what I call best friends forever (all 13 of them).
Treasure your friends, no matter where they are, no matter how different their lives look from you now, friendship is an infinite source of power and encouragement, but it needs to be nurtured, you need to pay attention to it, you need to be present and provide as much time as you can. Call them, talk to them, listen to them, tell them how much their friendship means to you. Always.