Hey, Relationships Really *Are* Amazing!

4 Jun

Oh, yes please!

Not to get all mushy, but I still have a birthday card that my late grandmother gave me a long time ago. It’s from 1993. It tells me to cherish my youth and value my friendships. There’s a bit about how I’ll grow old faster than I’ll know, and how relationships will mean everything.

At the time, I couldn’t have known how true those words would be in my life. Especially because I was feuding with someone named Kara Livoti who shared my same birthday — and we were fighting about whose party was going to be better (so that our mutual friends would have to choose a side). It was the rural Ohio version of Mean Girls, maybe… the way I remember it, anyway. Regardless, I was pretty sure friends were overrated at that point.

About that same time, my oldest brother Alex told me that if I acted like a brat, I’d never have any friends. That memory is vivid because even though I thought he was being a jerk by yelling at me, I knew he was right. I decided at that point to be nice to people just to prove Alex wrong. I’m going to have more friends than anyone else ever in the history of Earth.

When I turned 30 a couple weeks ago, I sat back and thought about how all these great people came from long distances to celebrate with me at my (rained out) BBQ. Now that I’m (re)launching my business, colleagues and clients and friends from recent times to years ago are sending me leads and connecting me with new opportunities to grow. My closest friend from fourth grade remains among my closest friends today. People I’ve only met online are helping me succeed. A diving teammate (now in Chicago) and grad school buddy (now in Austin) are meeting me back at Ohio U in July to have a beer and catch up for a couple days. I had lunch with a former client today and we’ll be working together again starting next week. I hug former colleagues when I see them and genuinely miss working with them. My first supervisor out of grad school, who is among my dearest friends today, just invited me to spend a week with her in Costa Rica next July (um, ok).

So I know these sorts of relationships in life are only possible because I gave of myself and was open to them. And that what I get from real relationships is way more warm and awesome feeling than just getting satisfaction from showing up Alex. But really, I’ve messed up A LOT in learning how to interact, value, say “no,” and move forward with relationships. And because of it, I already feel incredibly fortunate to realize that my youth and early adulthood have been true gifts that I’ll cherish for decades as my relationships grow and expand, as well.

Oh, and btw, Kara and I posted on each other’s Facebook walls wishing each other a Happy Birthday this year. Because now we understood that celebrating each other is way better than competing with each other. (Still, though, I bet my party was better than hers.)

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