In college, I ran Cross-Country and Track in Atlanta. While I’m sure I don’t have to elaborate on why, the bond you gain with your teammates is an inseparable one. Between the 6:00am Tuesday work-outs, the informal late-night naked running events, and the “drag-out” on Sunday long runs when we’d rehash our Saturday night escapades, there’s a lot of bonding that goes on in the sweaty mix.
After college it becomes increasingly difficult to see each other as often as you once had, and it becomes more and more difficult to maintain the same closeness as you all enter the next phase of your life. It’s all too easy to fall out of touch and grow apart.
For me, the majority of my closest friends from my team live in New York City. It shouldn’t be that surprising (because NYC is the shit and who wouldn’t want to live in this city?) but it is something that I took for granted for a while. Of course, we’d get together some Saturdays at someone’s apartment for a pre-game and then go out to some dive bar (when it was up to me) or some schmancy bar (when it was up to my finance friends). It was actually my parents though that made me realize I should make a stronger effort to see all my friends outside of the weekend haze.
Thus, “First Wednesday” was created. On the first Wednesday of every month, one person gets to choose a restaurant for dinner and we all go out of our way to be there. (I added a stipulation that if you miss First Wednesday, you have to send hand-written, mailed apology letters to all those who did make it to dinner explaining why you missed the occasion, but only one friend has followed through on that.) I understand this isn’t anything groundbreaking: dinner parties?! Am I the first one to ever think of that?! The point is: I have really great friends and getting together for a designated time each month is a really special thing. What’s even better? All of my friends have made it a priority as well.
At the ripe age of 26, I’m realizing more and more everyday how fortunate I am and not to take advantage of it. Though it feels life gets busier by the day, I’ve always made a concentrated effort to visit my loving, supportive parents in upstate New York, my kick-ass, soon-to-be married brother in California, and my best friend and amazing sister (who just had a baby boy, Graham!) in Rochester. College, I mentioned—but did I mention I was a Chinese major too? (<3 Shanghai, 我想念您). For the last four years I’ve been working as a middle school teacher in the South Bronx and recognize how unique it is for me to be absolutely in love with my job. I have a great apartment that I share with my boyfriend and our Mastiff mix, Maizey, who adorably loves to army crawl between us in bed in the middle of the night.
And now I feel like I’m able to appreciate, on new levels, what an amazing network of friends I have and why it’s so important to carve out time with them. As I’ve moved through each new stage of my life, I’m grateful that both my friends and I have made a more concerted effort to stay close.
Feel free to e-mail me about friendships, Chinese, teaching, puppies, and any other thoughts
New York, NY