When you are raised in a less than traditional home-life, your friends tend to become part your family. Nicole shares how her friendships have shaped her life and what it takes to maintain the longevity of those relationships.
It is a word that holds a lot of weight for me because my friends have always been part of my family. I was always more attached to my friends as a kid than I think most children tend to be. You see, I wasn’t raised by a mother and father partnership. I was raised by my own little village of family members who could take me in when my parents were again unable to play their part and truly be there for my brother and I in a safe, nurturing and healthy way. As a result, I began working to create my own ‘family’.
Now, at the age of 35, I have a whole ‘village’ of friends throughout the United States (a few around the world even) who enrich and help me get through my life. This is due in part to the fact that I’m a military wife. Regardless, each has played or currently plays a part in shaping who I am, who I will become, and how I choose to live my life. Just like family, I want to make them proud, I want to support them through hard times, and I want to be there for all aspects of their lives.
My friends have always been the family I choose for myself. There isn’t a saying that rings more true than that one for me.
One thing I know to be true about friendship is that it can and will evolve in a healthy way if you let it.
You have to be open to the changes that inevitably come within the context of life. We all grow, change and evolve as individuals. We begin to know ourselves better each day and that will ultimately change our interactions with others, our connections, and choices. If you met your friend when you were both in grade school, it only makes sense that you would each start to have paths that look and feel different. What I have learned is that it is the journey of making those paths work together and the supporting of one another as those changes occur that ultimately defines the longevity of your relationship. It truly takes the efforts of all involved for that scenario of change to not result in pulling you apart.
The interesting thing about female friendships is that we all bring so much to the lives of one another as we grow and change. As we begin to have families, learn more about ourselves, and grow into who we ultimately want to be in the grand scheme of life – our friendships carry us through. They hold a different weight than family. They bring a different perspective and offer something that can’t be given otherwise. Because of our relationships with each other, through the various ages and stages of our lives, we live a life that is full.
My friendships, quite simply, have defined my life. They have made it better, made me more resilient when something has gone askew, and taught me more about life than if I had chosen not to give my heart and soul to those relationships.