When I was 14 and in my first year of high school, I met my Best Friend. Yes, I’m spelling Best Friend with capital letters. Yes, she’s that big of a deal. Any way, at that time we both played netball, and on one particular bus trip back from a match we bonded over our mutual love of cows, the colour pink, and baking. For whatever magical reason it is that brings people together, we formed an instant connection and became fast friends. We spent the next five years of high school going through all those terrible teenage tribulations; acne, braces, boyfriends (or lack thereof) and trying to pass Maths.
We made it out the other side intact and moved into the great big world of adulthood. Or at least, we thought we were grown up now that we were at university! We ended up at different universities studying very different things, but still remained close. I suppose this comes as a turbulent time in many friendships as people move away, they gain new ideas and insights into the world, and form different circles of friends. But Best Friend remained Best Friend, and I think as we both started to grow into the people we felt comfortable being, so our friendship grew as well. We shared our hopes and dreams for the future, we shared broken hearts and broken ankles (funny story), we shared hundreds of kilometres while training for two half marathons, we shared cups of tea and bottles of wine. I’m forever grateful that we struck up a conversation on that smelly school bus so long ago, she has added so much to my life and is without a doubt ‘my person’ (thanks Grey’s Anatomy).
A few years after graduating from university, Best Friend did the most courageous thing I could ever think of. She left her thriving small business, her home, and all her friends and family, to pursue her lifelong dream of travelling the world. She packed up her life into one small suitcase and moved halfway across the world. When she left I was so thrilled for her that she was embarking on an amazing adventure, but my goodness it was difficult. There was just this huge vacuum in my life where I felt Best Friend’s presence had been. I missed her desperately and had grossly underestimated how difficult it would be to not just see her at whim. Many tears were shed and many pillowcases stained with mascara. However, we soon realised that panda eyes and a sad face were of no good to anyone, got our shit together, and entered a new phase of friendship: long distance.We got over the fact that we were oceans apart and couldn’t sit down at Melissa’s for a pot of tea and a weekly catch up, and we made up for it in every other way we could think of. We communicated with messages, phone calls, Skype sessions, Facebook wall posts… If there was an avenue in which we could communicate, we found it and we used it! I’m beyond grateful that we have such easy access to each other via social media, it has made long distance friendship so much easier. Thank you Whatsapp! Sometimes the messages only get replied to a few hours later, sometimes there are days where we don’t speak to each other, but always, always, she is in my thoughts and whenever anything good (or bad) happens she is one of the first people I want to share it with.
There’s no doubt about it, being away from your friend is not easy. I miss her all the time, and not just for the big things like birthdays and engagements. Sometimes I miss her the most in the small, every day moments. But being away from Best Friend taught me something really valuable: distance makes absolutely no difference when you have a true and deep connection with someone. You can’t fight it, your best friend is still your best friend, regardless of whether you live next door to one another or on opposite sides of the world. There are so many ways to make it work and to still be an integral part of each others’ lives. And you just know that when you see each other again it’s going to feel like she never left at all.
Today is Best Friend’s 27th birthday. I would give anything to be able to share a glass of pink champagne with you, but just know that from my little corner of the world I’m celebrating your existence! I am so proud of you for what have you achieved and am continually inspired and awed by you and your journey. Cheers to you, and cheers to long distance friendship.