I’ve been reflecting a lot lately on how important friendships are to me. I’ve had a lot of time lately to really think about what’s important in my life, and where my priorities are (and should be) – on what I value.
Having a small number of close, supportive friends has been something that, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to value more and more. It’s so important to me to have friends who I can be open and honest with, who I know will be there for me, and who will be supportive. If you’re anything like me, you’ve had your fair share of friends who turn out to be competitive – who aren’t really happy for your successes because they feel like life is a constant game of comparison, that there has to be a “winner.” But to me, real friendships are the opposite – real friends are excited for your successes; they’re the ones cheering you on, supporting your ideas when you’re not sure that you can make them a reality. And they know that you’ll do the same for them, because there isn’t a finite amount of success out there.
My friends have been there for me when I was applying for my new job, when I was starting my own advocacy organization, when I decided to apply for Ms. Wheelchair USA, and when I decided to start writing a blog! Not being able to be there physically for my friends right now doesn’t mean it’s any less important to me to make sure I’m still celebrating them. Some of my friends have gone through pretty major events – one got married, another decided to launch a virtual art exhibition – and it’s been sad not to be able to be there for them the way that I would normally. But I’ve made an extra effort to be there in different ways – group texts, Zoom calls, handwritten cards, flowers/little gifts delivered. I’m SO proud of and excited about the steps that they’ve taken, and it’s important to me to celebrate them.
If anything, the pandemic has only made me more of a believer in the importance of supportive friendships. These past few months have not all been easy, and it’s just as important to have a supportive group during the rough times than it is during the good times. Those group texts or Zoom calls aren’t just for celebrating – they can be just to feel connected, to feel like there are people there for you, who understand what you’re going through. Having a great group of friends in my life is something I’m thankful for all the time, but extra-appreciative of lately.