What would you do if I sang out of tune? Would you stand up and walk out on me?
Lend me your ear and I’ll sing you a song, and I’ll try not to sing out of key.
Good song, better message:
I get by with a little help from my friends.
(Are you thinking of The Wonder Years right now?)
Because don’t we all get by with a little help from our friends? That support system? I posit that the answer is yes.
I tend to think of my life in terms of distinct phases, defined primarily by where I was in school… because until recently, I was always enrolled in one kind of school or another. So the way I think of my life is a lot like the way we (you know, we, like me and all the real paleontologists) classify dinosaurs based on when they existed.
Everything through the end of high school was essentially precambrian… early, unformed, and frizzy. I wasn’t really sure how to have curly hair yet and many pictures exist to remind me of that. (Many… frizzy… photos… Want to see one? Too bad! It’s far too awful and I’m not that secure.)
College was my jurassic period, and I think that’s fitting considering that hearing the word jurassic tends to conjure dinosaurs. I learned a lot, but when I think back on it, I feel like a lot of the time I was more or less stomping through the jungle trying to learn how to open door handles. (And if anyone points out that velociraptors actually lived during the cretaceous period, not the jurassic period, I’m going to tell you to get over it– it’s my metaphor and the visual of a stegosaurus trying to use a door knob is just absurd.)
Grad school was the start of my cretaceous period, mammals were just starting to evolve, but they were angry and confused… certainly not human yet.
Fast forward just a couple years to life as I know it now and it’s amazing how quickly this person has evolved. Fully Homo sapiens at this point. Good deal.
In each of those time periods, there was one constant– amazing friends. Friends that were there for me in the toughest of times (remember, what feels like a tough time is relative to the toughness of the times you have experienced to date, so no judgement for what someone else considers “tough”). Now that I’m living what I finally consider real life, I can truly appreciate how important the support of those friends was then and is now.
When I skipped a grade and life was kind of hard (because things feel tough when you’re 8!), Emily was such a constant.
Emily, the precambrian princess…
When I was dumped and heartbroken my freshman year of college, Aimee lived next door and held me up through all of that (and 17– that’s another time in your life when things feel really big).
Aimee, the jurassic giant…
When slogging through grad school took it’s ugly toll, Jess ran mile after mile after mile with me (and she didn’t even like running then! ha! now she’s about to run a marathon! hard core!) and talked me through the tough stuff.
Jess, the triassic talent…
In my current job, my co-workers are like that– more than just people I work with, but friends who offer support and encouragement on a daily basis. (Also gems like this video of poo pourri… too awesome).
My coworkers, queens of the quaternary…
Now, every single time I need to get away, Melissa is waiting for me in a safe, supportive, and happy place (seriously, I can’t even tell you how many different cities we’ve had pedicures in).
Melissa, the angel of all ages…
And finally, the friends that I thought may be friends of the past, but have surfaced since I began this blog to add so much more to my life than I could ever have hoped.
Dawn, Lara, Nicole, Laura, and on and on, to you, dear reader, the not-as-extinct-as-I-thought coelacanths…
For a long time, I’ve been ok with being an introvert, a person who needs some alone-time, some quiet-time, and who has trouble with new social situations. But when I really think back on my life– starting with that precambrian period– I can see how insanely important a social network and meaningful friendships have been. With few exceptions (the exceptions being those impressive homesteaders living “off the grid” that you see on tv… dang, good for them, but I’d be pretty darn lonely with nothing but trees for friends), none of us can go it alone.
And someone out there can’t do it without you or me. Kind of a neat thought. And I hope I can be… that I am… the friend for someone else that so many people have been to me.
(How’s that for dinosaur references? Not all Jurassic Park this time– had to consult Wiki for this one!)