Savor The Time You Spend With Your Friends
There was a time in my life where I took all my friends for granted.
We used to meet every day for school, go home together, eat dinner together, hang out at cafes together. It’s been a while since I’ve been able to do any of those things with friends.
I remember many days where I’d feel lazy and not want to come out when they called. I’d make up excuses and do everything in my power not to leave my house. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy their company. I had a lot of things preoccupying my mind and I put less priority in hanging out in cafes and going to the movies.
I could always meet them tomorrow, I’d tell myself.
The more stress I’d feel from the pressures of hunting for jobs and pondering about my career and the future, the more I strayed away from the calls of my friends. Whenever I did meet my friends, I wouldn’t be present and couldn’t enjoy the moment. I’d always be thinking about other things, worrying about things out of my control, wanting to leave quickly so that I could go home and be alone to think by myself.
The worst of all this is, I’d never communicate my feelings and thoughts with my friends. I’d kept it all in and they never knew why I seemed so detached, so unwilling to hang out with them. I did not believe that they would understand, which I now see as a mistake.
The doubts stemmed from my insecurities at the time, where my friends seemed to have their lives in order while mine was in chaos. I thought they would leave me behind if I didn’t straighten up and get my shit together. I thought they’d judge me for being unemployed or being lost in life, not knowing what I wanted to do or where I wanted to go.
It’s been almost two years and I’ve only recently learned to value those who decide to be around me. I try putting in a little more effort to be present, to enjoy the little moments we have with each other. I realize that we will never again have the opportunity to always be able to meet and laugh together like we did in college. When we start our jobs, our lives will inevitably drift apart in one way or another.
One friend who was always single can meet a significant other and will no longer have time to spend their free time with you.
One friend can decide that his/her dream was to join the Peace Corps and travel the world, and you may never hear from them again.
One friend can get a full time job that makes them work long hours, and you may only see them once a year or so.
One friend can get married and start a family, and will never be free because he/she is either working or taking care of their kids.
One friend, while healthy today, can contract a rare disease or suffer from an unfortunate accident. So it goes.
All these thoughts flashed in my head while I met with my friends today. It put me in a contemplative mood. What made me think moments like these would be plentiful in the future? What makes me so sure that there will always be more moments like this?
It made me sad, knowing that someday I may not see some of these people, but it also gave me a newfound love for the present.
It gave me a grateful heart, to be able to sit there in that chair and share a moment with great people who know how to make me laugh, to make me think, to make me a better person.
Everyone seems a little more different now. The conversations we have are the same — nonsensical and hilarious, just the way it should be.
Their company always energizes me, and the things we’ve been dying to share to each other all comes crashing onto the table.
The funny incident that happened to us the other day on the bus. The recent news that we saw on Facebook. The latest movie that we all HAVE to see. Everyone around the table takes a turn to share or contribute to the conversation. This is where I realize that in life, fewer things are more important than good friends. Having friends, even one friend, can make life itself worth living, even when everything else is meaningless.
I look at each one of them for a second and come to the realization that I will never know the daily struggles they face. I am able to finally remove myself as the center of the universe and attempt to understand even an inkling of their lives. The pain they face, the immense amount of suffering that plagues their lives. I realize that I could do them a huge favor by lending them an ear, to allow them to vent the frustrations and sadness that fills their lives.
Who knows what kind of dark thoughts and unfortunate events torment their daily lives?
Who knows which friend is on the verge of suicide, desperately needing some compassionate words of encouragement for them to keep carrying on?
Who knows which friend is going through a rough patch with their significant other, wishing that someone would listen to them without judging or criticizing them.
You must realize how lucky it is to even have a friend who is willing to do that for you. You must be grateful to be able to have the luck to meet such great people.
We tend to simplify our friends’ lives. To create a story around them, a story that fits our depiction of them. We have no idea what goes on in their heads, and sometimes end up undermining their thoughts and emotions.
It’s easy to judge a book by its cover. It’s easy to judge a friend’s life by looking at their smile. Maybe the time you saw them smiling was the only time they were able to smile in months was because they were finally able to spend time with you, a friend.
We’re all hiding deep scars and painful memories, things we do not dare sharing with even our closest friends. The secrets we bury deep into our minds and hearts. If you’re capable of doing it, so are your friends.
But the fact is that having friends around make us forget about these painful memories. For even a few hours, we are able to get out of our own heads and laugh senselessly and talk about whatever we want to talk about. The worries and anxieties fade and life feels like it’s not going to be so bad, as long as you can have your share of these moments with friends from time to time.
I listen to their stories now with more compassion, to try to understand why they think the way the think, why they feel the emotions they feel. Although I cannot even begin to fathom how they must feel, how they felt in their lowest moments, I understand that simply being there next to them makes all the difference.
When they tell stories, I have to remind myself that they don’t necessarily want your advice. They don’t want to hear your input. They just need an outlet and as a friend, it is your duty to be there for them when they are most vulnerable. In return, they will give you a shoulder to rest on when life comes crashing down on you.
Friends get busy and go down different walks of life. Friends change and no longer hold the same interests as you. Friends get more and more priorities, and it gets harder and harder to see them.
As the last of my friends leave my car and I drive home, alone, I have time to soak in the silence. The car was just full of laughter and conversation, echoing through the quiet night. I’ve lost count of how many times I laughed and smiled in the short time we all spent together.
It makes me sad that times like these cannot last forever, but I guess that’s what makes these moments so special. Every time I feel the breeze of a cool spring night, I will remember this day and all other days, and I will simply be glad.
Glad that I was able to experience it at all.
Savor every moment with your friends.