If you had asked me a few years ago if I had any inspiration to write a post like this, I would probably be at a loss for words. In friendly terms, I’ve always been an old soul and, in turn, a loner. Things have never come too easily for me, and friendship was one of those areas.
I grew up only getting close to one, maybe two people. From elementary school to early high school, I always had the fear the person I chose as my best friend would move away and then forget about me and replace me. Which, trust me, happened too many times than I care to admit.
Now as I look back, I am thankful for those early experiences. They were difficult, yes. But most of my experiences haven’t been easy. It means I can learn from them. It means I look back and see how far I’ve come. I don’t talk to most of those people from my younger years (for at least one, I am VERY thankful for that), but I think about them and still hope the best for them.
I’m thankful I have been exposed to so many different people, all with different stories to tell and lessons to teach me. I know they have come into my life for a reason. When I was younger, I know I wasn’t mentally or emotionally prepared to handle more than I did. I struggled a lot and needed moments of solitude to really identify myself.
But I am beyond thankful for where I’m at today. If I told my younger self how many people I consider my friends today, I probably would not have believed it. I would have cringed thinking about letting my guard down too often. Vulnerability scared me. Getting too close to people scared me in fear they would drop me. I was scared nobody would ever understand me. I was scared I would be alone forever and just become a hermit in the woods somewhere.
Maybe not the last one so much. Every other anxiety was very real, though. I didn’t realize I had an introverted personality or that I had depression that longed for constant isolation or social anxiety that made any social situation even scarier. I needed to figure that all out for myself before I could even approach my feelings of being an outsider, that I really didn’t belong anywhere. Heck, I remember even going so far as to think nobody would miss me if I wasn’t around.
The past is the past. And the present is truly a gift. I have some very close friends who have seen the sides of me I would have never share. I mean, I’ve definitely shared a lot of those things on the internet, so I decided to face my fear of opening up to others and throw it away. When I made that decision, I have realized how to truly connect with other people, relate with them on levels I never knew existed. I’m lucky enough to have had many conversations that were deep and heartfelt.
Besides those deeper connections, I know so many diverse people here and farther away. And we all care about each other. We might not talk every day, but I know if I needed them, they would be there. That is one of the best feelings in the world.
While I value my alone time, I have found value in moments shared with others. To go out, usually beyond my comfort zone, and be spontaneous and make some amazing memories, whether they be big or small adventures, I admittedly don’t go out very often, but I choose those times very carefully and see them as a form of self-care. Sometimes all we really need is to join a friend or two in a car and drive to an unknown destination.
I have thought about my funeral a lot. Not in a morbid way. Not that I want it to happen any time soon. But I think of the legacy I want to leave behind. Rather than wanting to accomplish a lot and be successful professionally, I want people to gather because I touched them in some way. That they will remember me and my spirit and share memories. That is where I want my wealth to lie. I could care less about money. I want to be rich in friendship and love and laughter.
To the people who considers me as a friend, I thank you so much. I thank you for understanding when I’m more distant and isolated. I thank you for your patience and guidance and support. I thank you for remembering me, for finding light in me when I’m shrouded in darkness. You all enrich my life in unimaginable ways.
Please know that I am always here for you. Whenever you need me, I will be there. Even if we don’t talk every day, chances are I think of you every day. Even if it’s just the occasional Snapchat or random meme I share with you or a quick Tweet or text, know that my simple words and actions cannot fully encompass my appreciation for you. You inspire me to become a better person. You make my life an amazing one.
While the present moment is the most important, I look forward to the future friends I might encounter in my life, or the people I keep in touch with over the years. It excites me. I can’t wait to see what the future holds. I know it will be one rich in beautiful people, people I am lucky enough to call my friends.
Take care, and keep the faith. -Allie