Today a friend of mine turns 50 years old. We have literally known each other for 36 years. For some of this time, we were inseparable. We watched the very first MTV video together to put time in perspective here. For some of this time, we went months, even years, without speaking. Yet, when I see her it is as if no time has passed at all. People use this vernacular all the time, but it is literally true in our case. She knew me in what I call my before and after life.
My before life was defined prior to 1982 when my mother passed away unexpectedly. I was only 15 years old. I’m sorry I didn’t consider how my loss affected her because she loved my mother too. When she lost her father, I wasn’t there for her and I regret that. Their relationship was special; he touched her heart and she is so fortunate to have known a love like that. I admire that she watches out for her mother’s interests despite her own responsibilities.
My after life is post 1982. I changed schools, lived with guardians and changed my circle of friends. She was there then too, even though she may not always have felt comfortable with my new crowd or the decisions I made.
We moved on, went to college, got married, raised children, pursued careers and overcame obstacles in between. We did much of this without each other. Yet, there is no bitterness or awkwardness – only support. This is a perfect example of how women can lift each other up. She does this not only for me but also for others, quietly through volunteer work and teaching Zumba. God knows how she got to Zumba as we can barely laugh without peeing our pants but more power to her!
Recently life events have brought us close again. I appreciate her strength and confidence. This is a woman who takes on a challenge and seems unafraid to fail. From what I’ve observed, she rarely does fail. She is confident, direct, and will tell you when something is “not appropriate,” which is our inside joke. She inspires me to be confident and for that I’ll always be appreciative.
I know few people who have the privilege of a friendship that has spanned this amount of time. Today I celebrate her and all of the silly things we did when we were 14 and even over the last few weeks. I pray she has the bright and happy future she deserves; bright like her new lovely tattoo.