Oh, The Places We’ll Go: A Thank You Letter To Kick Off The New Year

As many of you probably don’t know, this week marks 2013’s National Letter Writing Week. Is it nerdy? Yes. Is it nerdy enough to keep me from writing about it? (Obviously) no.

So, this week, I will take a cue from the holiday at hand and write a letter to one of my very closest friends. Before I dive in, I’d like to reference a Thought Catalog piece that I read a while back. Chelsea Fagan, a regular essayist for the website, writes an incredibly astute Thank You Letter to Real Friends that struck a chord with me. It felt like she had her finger on my pulse as I read about the hardships of finding friends as an adult and the obstacles presented to anyone trying to navigate the social cues of a post-collegiate world (a shock to the system for any recent grad making the transition from college to cubicle).

She so accurately describes the way that young adults settle for acquaintances over true friends, whether out of fear, loneliness or convenience. She writes that we, as a collective breed of young professionals new to this habitat, settle for “people who are nice enough, but with whom we wouldn’t share a secret. With whom we wouldn’t cry. With whom we wouldn’t laugh until our stomachs ached.”

This dear friend of mine… well, it will suffice to say that she is not one of those people. This friend and I have cried enough tears to fill a milk carton. We have laughed so hard that our lungs ached for air and our eyes welled in protest. We have embarrassed ourselves in front of each other, we have supported each other, we have consoled each other and we have needed each other. I was lucky enough to happen upon her in a brand new city at a brand new job in a brand new stage of my life, and I am forever grateful. My letter will be short (mostly because my intro was so long,) but I hope it serves its purpose.

Lola,

In an effort to avoid mincing words, I want to start out with a basic fact: this past year has not been an easy one for you. In fact, it’s been a pretty awful one. But in spite of it all, you’ve maintained such an admirably positive attitude and an ever-open mind. You never complain, you never wallow – and I still don’t know how you do it.

The evolution of our friendship was a strange one, but it somehow panned out perfectly. And even though we’re hurtling closer to full-fledged adulthood, I am so grateful that I still have a friend that can enjoy too much wine the little things with me.

So, my hope for you is that 2013 is better. Much better. I hope it is filled with more happiness, more excitement and more adventures (Chicago-based adventures, perhaps?) I hope it brings you even more love and even more comfort. Even though time is such a scary thing, I think it’s on our side this year.

And since I’m afraid that I won’t be as eloquent as our beloved Thought Catalog writers, I conclude with this excerpt from another writer:

“Sometimes we don’t thank our friends enough — for being there, for loving us, for being able to exist in the sidelines because of distance or schedules but come back into our lives with full force when the opportunity arrives. Our real friends, whose love and humor can lie dormant for stretches but doesn’t simply die, often go unappreciated. We owe them so much, and they are such a huge part of who we are, but we can often forget that as we construct our own lives. And we’ll surely make new friends as we grow — and are done stumbling into adulthood and everything that comes with it — but they won’t be a replacement, and we shouldn’t forget that. We owe it to ourselves to thank the people who have been there for us, and who remind us that we’ll always be worth more than just a handshake and an empty ‘we should grab a coffee soon.’”

You have helped me stumble into adulthood, and you have given me a brand new perspective on the future. Thank you so, so much. 

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