All Kinds of Friends

Reprinted with permission from Hayley State of Mind. 

friendsThe other day I had lunch with a friend and it got me thinking about the importance of friendship and surrounding yourself with the people who change your life, even in the simplest of ways, by being your friends.

Sometimes I think we get so caught up in living picture to picture instead of living in the moment. We focus so much on capturing an image to share with the world on Facebook or Instagram, and we forget to actually enjoy the memory we’re making until it’s too late.

Lately I’ve been trying to spend more time with friends – old friends, new friends; ones I’ve lost touch with and ones I talk to all the time. Because after all, what is life about, if not surrounding yourself with people you love? Sharing laughter and tears and everything in between? And while I’m absolutely guilty of wanting to capture everything in a picture, (who isn’t?), I have been making a conscious effort to focus more on the time I’m spending with people than trying to make it all look picture perfect.

We have all kinds of friends in life. And it really is in our best interest not to take them for granted. Some friends come and go, some are for a lifetime. Some are fun to go on trips with, some are great secret-keepers, some give great advice, some make you laugh hysterically. Some are siblings or parents or cousins. Some are people you just met. Some you see every day and some live hundreds of miles away.

There are those friends you grew up with who basically experienced your entire childhood with you. The kind of friends you don’t exactly choose, because you’re from a small town and you just happen to go to school together, and spend your summers and weekends slumber partying. The kind of friends who, even though you lose touch when you graduate and hardly ever talk to or see each other, you still feel like you know them better than anyone because you know each other’s history. You had dance recitals together, earned Girl Scout badges, celebrated every birthday from the Barney-themed one to the Sweet 16. You were there when they had their first kiss, you went to your first dance together, experienced survived driver’s ed, made the cheer squad and the basketball team, (or didn’t make them), got in big trouble together, planned proms and graduations and every other major milestone of your childhood. They’re the kind of friends who know your entire families, too. In a small town, you’re basically all one big happy dysfunctional family. Everybody knows everything, and because of that, you’re forever connected. There’s just something you can’t deny about the kind of bond that’s formed when you grow up together and have so many shared memories – in all the same places with all the same people. It’s peculiar, but untouchable.

And then there are those friends you meet in college. The first friends you truly choose, because there are actually options. You can do whatever you want and meet whoever you want for the first time, and so you find the people you have something in common with and share life-changing experiences with them that build unbreakable bonds. You live with them, study with them and go get ice cream go to the bar go to class with them. You endure finals and projects and papers together. (That you may or may not have waited until the last possible day to do and therefore pull all-nighters together to get them done. Which inevitably included lots of energy drinks, junk food and occasional YouTube breaks followed by a day of skipping class and napping.) You go to parties, on road trips and double-dates. You dress up in bad costumes, drink too much and make memories that will have you laughing for years to come. You spend holidays together when your families are too far away. You’re with them through really hard break-ups. And really difficult life decisions. Who knows what they want to be “when they grow up” as a freshman in college, anyway? You’re with them through major losses – jobs, family members, parent’s divorces. You experience internships and job interviews. And that weird transition from college to “the real world.” And often you’re there when they meet the great loves of their lives. You’re in each other’s weddings. You vacation together. And then they start having babies and you watch as their kids are born and grow up. (Cue that moment when you start to realize just how far you’ve come since 18, have a temporary quarter-life crisis, pull yourself together and get back to life.)

All this to say, time is fleeting. I’ve always loved the saying, “Do not regret growing older – it is a privilege denied to many.”

You have to make the most of your time – think about all those friends who have impacted your life in one way or another, and learn to appreciate them a little more. Because a lonely life wouldn’t be much worth living. And while it’s fun to capture every moment with a picture – do yourself a favor and don’t forget to just live in the moment first.

by Hayley Westwood

hayley westwood

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