We travel though life with others by our sides for a few days, a few months, a few years. Some people are just passing through while others stick around for a while. We become co-travelers on the same journey, even though we often go in different directions.
A decade ago my life intertwined with the paths of many others, brought together by our desire for change and adventure, by our thirst for life, the sun, and the beach. In the city of L.A., which is known for its fleeting and shallow relationships, we built bonds that have kept us connected through time and space.
Though we are now scattered across the country and find ourselves in different phases of our lives, I recently traveled to reconnect with three of my favorite friends in person, in real time.
After my flight landed and I arrived at baggage claim, seeing D standing in front of me was surreal. We first met at a show in Hollywood. My friend’s band was playing and D was there as a scout for a record label. Until that moment at the airport, it had been 7 years since we last saw each other.
We walked along the falls and river, enjoying the rush of water and lush greenery around us, talking about who we were, who we are, and who we want to be. We both miss the L.A. lifestyle but are finding our way through the unique urban pockets intertwined with suburbia. We wandered around town, stopping at hidden gems along the way, happy in the simplicity that is our friendship. D is in the process of shifting his center of gravity, and he reminds me that life is only as hard as we make it. He reminds me to revel in the things I love and to not waste time on the things I don’t. I told him about my blog, and he told me that he’s proud of me.
Next I arrived at the home of my friend F, her greeting expectedly warm and sincere as she welcomed me inside. I do not remember the moment I first met F; she just seamlessly fit into my existence as if she had always been there, a gem of authenticity and honesty. We used to spend hours playing tennis, bouncing both the ball and our thoughts back and forth to get a handle on the things in our lives that were holding us back or holding us down. She is strong and fearless and never settles for less.
Now F has a family of her own, including a baby. She marches forward with such confidence that you’d never know she is figuring it out as she goes. She refuses to give up the simple pleasures she enjoys, like scrumptious Saturday morning brunch at an overcrowded organic café, just because she has a baby. Her tiny blonde frame hoists the baby carrier in front of her and pushes through the crowd to a table at the back, making no apologizes along the way. She tells me about the big job on which she has set her sights. It’s a huge leap, but she knows she can do it, and she is fighting for it. F is inspiring. She shows me that I can do it, too.
N arrived on a later flight and was waiting patiently for me and F to show up. When she spotted me in the crowd, she practically leaped into my arms with an embrace that lifted my spirits a mile. I remember first meeting N at a backyard party by the beach. She was all glowing smiles and open arms, the same as she is now. She is warm and open and incredibly trusting. After the birth of her first son, almost immediately upon seeing me, she invited me to hold him.
What most defines N is her huge heart. She loves hard and only wishes for love in return. She gives of herself tirelessly to her husband, sons, and rescue dogs. She cares so deeply for the world around her that I think it hurts her sometimes. On our way back from a girls’ night out of dinner and dancing, N. aimed her face out the car window and into wind, staring at the photo of her boys on her phone. She reminds me to love fiercely and whole-heartedly, no matter what.
I wish we all still lived in the same city. Though my wish will never come true, my heart is full of gratitude that they are still part of my life, that we have found a way to stay connected. Life is short and time steals itself away from us. Spend it wisely and intertwine your life with the people you love. Don’t let your friendships float away.