This weekend my childhood best friend and her big sister came to spend the weekend at my house while dropping their oldest sons off at college.
Side note: one of the reasons we moved to Utah a few years ago was to be near our alma mater, BYU, where we knew our kids wanted to attend college. I couldn’t bear the thought of living across the country and sending them off to school so far away and missing out on all the action.
I love living in Utah because now I’m not only near this fun college scene, (yes, we host parties often) but I have a lot more traffic coming through my house as dear friends come to visit.
So back to this fun reunion-of-sorts weekend…it was a big reminder to me of the power of friendship. I met Marnee on the first day of 7th grade, at the tender age of 12, when a strange girl from California showed up in 6 of 7 class periods.
Yes, every class I went to, she was there with her hip haircut (one side shorter than the other), bright green eyes, and memorable name. I couldn’t get away from her, and thank goodness for that! We became fast friends and from that day on, we were pretty much inseparable until we each got married.
Marriage really didn’t stop us, because even though our circumstances took us to different states, we’ve been committed to reconnecting a few times a year - sometimes with kids, or spouses, or just the girls. This friendship has been unending and timeless, always there and never old.
I think what I love most, is that no matter where we leave off, we pick right back up. And no matter what’s going on in each other’s life, there’s a constant knowing that acceptance, encouragement and love will always be there.
I consider this friendship, among a few others I’ve collected through the years, to be a priceless gift. I’ve wanted this for my girls, as I know my friends have shaped me, and a good friendship can be a lifeline and anchor to the soul.
One thing Marnee taught me was to never gossip. She NEVER spoke negatively about anyone, ever. At a time when we were young and there was a tendency for girls to talk shop, I never formed that habit, and Marnee was a big part of that.
She also taught me to be smart! She wanted to get good grades and said we should be on the Honor Roll. So guess what? I did too! And then just followed along and kept it up. Honor Roll, National Honor Society, volunteers for the Children’s Crisis Center, student body officers in college…yep, that was all following along with Marnee’s big ideas. We were “resume building” she said…well, ok, that sounds good!
Marnee went to Law School, I went on to get my MBA. Both our husbands are doctors, and we both invest in real estate. We both have lots of kids and couldn’t be busier and happier. Now our kids are friends and going to college, serving missions for our church, and are all involved in good things.
What’s the point?
Well, I’m sitting here reminiscing about the paths we both took, and the gift of her influence on my life. I’m filled with gratitude. And I’m consciously aware that this directly ties to one of the concepts I often tell my kids — you are the sum of the 5 people you spend your time with! So choose wisely!
If you want to be great, hang out with great people. In fact, surround yourself with people more talented and smarter than you - and you will rise! I know this is true, it’s the story of my life!
I seek for great people and I learn from them. I develop habits based on the inspiration they give me. I don’t mind that I’ve followed in their paths, because I’ve become a better person, mother, wife, etc because of my friends.
Who are you choosing to be influenced by?
Who are your peeps?
Are you better because of their influence?
If not, then it’s time to find some new friends. If your friends have shaped you too, then pick up the phone and call them. Thank them for the role they’ve played in your life!
We are all in this together.
And remember, you have this same opportunity to affect others, so shine brightly and be brilliant. Don’t ever hide your light. And don’t ever, ever dim the light of others. We all need all the encouragement we can get.
You’ll someday have a friend thanking you for lifting them and encouraging their best!