Growing up an introvert meant that for most of my younger days, I didn’t want to draw unnecessary attention to myself. It meant making an effort not to be different.
Then, in my early 20s, I started my first grown-up job and met three ladies who would later become my closest girlfriends.
I mention these friends often because they’ve had a pretty profound impact on my life. In the 13 years we’ve known each other, they’ve coaxed me out of my shell and helped me celebrate the beauty of being different.
Over the past 13 years, this beautiful group of beings has helped me grow in so many ways — spiritually, creatively, intellectually. I think we’ve been pivotal, in fact, in helping each other grow and find the path we’re meant to follow. It’s kind of impossible not to go chasing after your dreams and inspirations when you’ve got a team of cheerleaders constantly rallying behind you.
When it comes to friendship, we’re naturally drawn to people who are similar to us. People who share the same values, the same interests, the same sense of humor. This is no doubt what drew my group of friends and I together all those years ago.
But what makes friendships truly special are the differences —the different opinions, different perspectives, different points of view.
When I ask my friends for advice or feedback on a challenging situation, I don’t want them to tell me what they think I want to hear. I want them to tell me their thoughts from their own individual point of view. I want to see things from a different angle, to possibly uncover an aspect I hadn’t originally considered.
My friends are awesome. They’ve exposed me to ideas and things I may never have otherwise encountered. They’re adventurous and creative and wildly unique, and I’ll tell you why.
T. quit her corporate job many years ago to complete yoga teacher training. She experimented leading evening classes at the local rec center (and was damn good at it), but found the format too restrictive.
Lately, she’s been exploring the integration of music and movement, incorporating her knowledge of yoga into a more free-flow expression. She’s planning to create a workshop based on this uniquely-cultivated style, to help people understand that the principles of yoga can take many shapes and forms.
T. has thick red hair she had styled into dreadlocks many years ago. They’re so long now they touch her lower back (she’s having them trimmed this fall because the weight’s been giving her headaches). People constantly stop us in our tracks to fawn over her hair.
A couple years ago she learned to needle felt and creates whimsical fairies, gnomes and woodland creatures she shares as gifts with her friends and loved ones. She loves the water and, when we’re camping, will almost always sneak away for a late night swim. She meditates daily, rides an e-bike and nails the 52 week money challenge every year.
E. is a pioneer. Her experiences in the Cadet Program have given her mad survival skills. Several years ago she bought a boat with plans to live in it year-round. Around the same time, she left her salaried job to plant trees up north. When she returned, she found marina-living majorly lacking in privacy, so sold the boat and bought a bus instead.
She spent several months converting the bus into a tiny home on a dime, then found a sprawling, rural property where she was able to live for minimal cost. The bus, however, wasn’t suited to her constant travels (the engine needed some TLC), and so she eventually let it go to a couple of artists planning to turn it into their studio.
E. spent the past couple years studying to be a Certified Holistic Nutritionist and is a depth of information when it comes to all things food. She’s constantly preparing unusual treats and desserts from the top of her head, with minimal added sugar, and showed me that beef jerky can be made at home in my dehydrator (total game changer).
Just over a year ago, E. bought a Dodge Caravan and camperized the interior. She still spends her summers planting trees, and works the winters doing admin for a family-owned forestry outfit. She loves astrology and mid-century furniture and knows how to tie all the knots.
El. went to school to be a mechanic and spent many years working in the service department of a local car dealership. Later, she and her former husband operated a business servicing pumps, wells and septic systems, and spent many wintry days in the rain performing hours-long well tests.
A couple years ago El. became interested in the ritual of death and started training to become an end-of-life doula. Later, she began studying to become a crystal therapist, using crystals to manage energy and promote healing.
Halloween is El.’s favorite time of year. She’s always gone above and beyond to decorate for the occasion and once even carved something like twenty pumpkins to adorn her front porch. She loves traipsing through the woods at night and is a member of a local paranormal investigation team. They regularly head to haunted locales throughout the region to pick-up evidence of ghostly activity.
Two years ago El. opened a new age shop with her friend and business partner. She spends her days surrounded by crystals and tarot cards and other metaphysical-themed paraphernalia, and provides support to the many strange and wonderful characters that walk through her door (we’re trying to convince her to write a book about these experiences!). She knows reiki and loves tall boots and always tries to make friends with the wildlife.
These are my wonderful, colorful, wildly unique friends.
And I love them to bits.