A colleague passed away suddenly and unexpectedly this week. She has two young children and a husband and co-workers and friends who will miss her terribly. It's such a tragic, sad situation. It's clear that she left an indelible mark on so many lives, both as an educator and a regular human person.
I can't stop thinking about her inner circle, her best friends. My heart breaks for them.
15 years ago I met my people. Four women who have become the greatest friends I've ever known. To honor the beautiful friendships that were lost this week, I thought I'd write a little list of the ways my people make life better.
1) We give each other grace, always. Sometimes I need to be whiny or feel sorry for myself, and I have friends who will listen and comfort and encourage; then they tell me that it's time to put my big girl britches on and get it together.
2) We call each other on our crap. "Why do you want to do that?" or "Why are you so upset about that?" are always acceptable questions.
3) We encourage each other. There is always someone just a a text away to remind me that I am strong and smart and capable and kind and badass (whether I feel that way or not).
4) We celebrate together. There is no competition or jealousy. We all truly want the best for each other and rejoice in one another's successes. When you have an inner circle, you can always brag to them without bragging.
5) We have a secret language. We've been friends long enough that certain words, phrases, (even emojis!) have their own meaning. Sometimes we don't have to say anything and the other four just know.
6) We laugh. Good grief, do we laugh! At ourselves, at each other, at life, at the world. We giggle and belly laugh. My people are funny. I think I'm going to live an extra ten years because of the laughter.
7) We listen. No matter what is going on, big or small, we share and listen to tiny details or big picture concerns. We hear each other.
8) I'm pretty sure we only have one rule: If you wouldn't say something to one of us, you can't say it to yourself. No negative self-talk allowed. That's a big, valuable, important rule.
9) Group text. You know that thing you're tempted to tweet or Facebook that's probably not appropriate for social media? Find some friends you can text that to. Nothing is too embarrassing, gross, silly, or neurotic with my people.
10) Time and distance can't keep us apart. Traveling the world (or moving to the other side of it) doesn't make our friendship less. Moving a few cities over or to the backwoods can't stop us. It may not be as often as it used to be, but we make time to see each other in real life when we can.
So, at the risk of sounding fourteen, cheers to best friends. Treasure every moment you have with them.