A smile, a call (pausing movie-just-started to dial your number, when they hear you’re midst melt down), a mug of tea, a nudge, a nod, a squeeze, an eyebrow raised. A seat at their table, a space on their fav side of the bed. A playlist made, a note written, socks lent, wardrobes borrowed. Friendship looks like all sorts.
Older, younger, wiser, tall, taller, shorter (few and far between. I am, after all not quite blessed with Gisele like limbs); pals come in various forms. Near, far and – proving Celine’s Titanic belter wrong – , not necessarily wherever you are (would any more friends like to move to the other warmer side of the planet?).
Last week, first time in ages, I had a really horrible couple of days of pain and those flu like symptoms hit me sideways. And in the way that pain can suddenly feel so all consuming, I struggled with disappointment and frustration and Tim Horgan like impatience. (If you know my Dad, this impatience is renowned. Think of a hungry Victor Meldrew and you’re somewhere close.)
I wondered how on earth I had once dealt with feeling like that all-the-freaking-time. I couldn’t see past it or through it and I felt pretty fed up. There’s so much I want to do; can’t I just do it now, without the enforced breathers? (Of course, with more than just a few hours of disturbed sleep under my dressing gown belt, I know that in continually regaining health, I’m in the very process of doing exactly that.)
It’s so easy in this kind of in-between point to get sucked into what the masses are up to; status updates about houses just bought, job promotions and wedding bells as rife as fit girls posing with the bloody dog ears on Snapchat (enough already. We are all very much aware that you are sexy, yet adorable). I did that horrible thing of comparing – forgetting best ever advice; “don’t look around”. And forgot what I had right in front of me.
Because (control your gag reflex), I have what is genuinely the most important; mates and relationships to be valued like no other. My pals were the ones who on on Thursday eve set me straight, gave me the reality check I needed (I mean, woe is me…feeling rough was as result of having all the fun) and reminded me that there isn’t a race.
Just because others around me seem to be flying through personal check lists at Usain Bolt speed, it doesn’t make me any less likely to check off my own ambitions. (Unless, of course, there is sudden great rise in number of us trying to forge best mate status with Mary Berry.) And in seeing my pals make these moves and leaps and personal triumphs, I’ve realised that instead of being a source of unending worry and panic, we should raise the roof for our ambitions and the way they lead to all sorts of unexpected bits and bobs of life unfolding.
And as those bits and bobs unfold, it’s rare we stop and say thanks. But last night, when friendship for me looked like four oldest school friends, bunched up close and gripping to each other like no other on wedding dance floor (affection, but also Vodka), shouting the words to New York, New York, I said a silent thank you, thank you, thank you. And then valiantly chased down a waiter for a burger. (One ambition for the year thus completed; attending Rose’s wedding and manning dance floor until the very end.)
** Many likely typos due to still being in a state of cake induced food coma**