the better part of one’s life consists of friendships

god, grant me the serenity to accept the things i cannot change,
courage to change the things i can,
and wisdom to know the difference

i spent the weekend in portland for a college friend’s wedding. five of us went; using the weekend as a reunion, we shared a hotel room, adventures, laughter, and tears.  i am always grateful for my time at college, never more so than when i find myself surrounded by those wonderful women. it is such a joy to catch up and see where our lives and dreams have taken us. and yet, after having not seen some of the girls since graduation, so much remains the same.

unfortunately, none of us were excited for the wedding. the bride has changed in many ways we are not excited about.  she deserves so much more than this life she has chosen for herself. i hate that she’s given up so much of the girl i once knew so well, i hate that she doesn’t have the same attitude and joy she once did. this was the girl who, after being kicked in the face by a horse and having her jaw wired shut for two months, was able to crack jokes the day of surgery and be there for me when i had an emotional breakdown. now? she’s the girl who gave up riding because her now-husband “didn’t approve.”

what do you do when you find yourself shouting on the insides, wanting your old friend back? resign yourself to the changes, and simply weep and relish the memories you had? continually utter the serenity prayer and hope that serenity, courage, and wisdom somehow find their way to you?

for that matter, what do you do when you find yourself wanting your old life back? so much has changed since college. i’ve graduated from law school and am now studying for the bar. i’ve contributed to two successful SCOTUS cases (2-0 record!). by all counts i’m living my dreams. but, this weekend made me realize how monosyllabic my life has become. my life used to be full of different dimensions–school, horses, and leadership all defined me. now, all i do with regularity is study.

i miss my horses. i miss the feeling of flying over a huge coop. i miss the early morning sun in the hunt field. i miss the anxiety filling the moment before entering the show ring. i miss everything about it. of the five of us at the wedding, four rode together in college. talking about horses made me realize how much i miss it. i still have all of my riding things–saddle, breeches, boots, trunk full of bridles and all kinds of assorted stuff. all sitting there, ready to go for when i can get back in the saddle.

i understand that this is the price i pay for my dreams, but lord is it heart-wrenching.

anatole france said it perfectly:

all changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another.




Filed under life, nostalgia

13 responses to “the better part of one’s life consists of friendships

  1. That last quote. Right there. I feel so many of these same feelings, all the time. I am, on the whole, doing exactly what I want to be doing and if I could go back to 2007 and tell myself this is where “we’d” be in 2011 college me wouldn’t believe how lucky we are. But I miss it. I miss the vibrancy of that life. But mostly I miss the people. I wouldn’t change my journey, but I wish it didn’t have to unfold 2,000 miles from the community I came to love so dearly.

    (and also…ouch with the wedding sitch. that is a TOUGH one.)

  2. Jamie

    I do find myself wanting bits of my old life back… I desperately miss the pace of college, the freedom, the sitting in bed and drinking mimosas and reading philosophy until noon on a Sunday. I miss the drive I had in high school (where.did.that.go). But I guess I am happy with where I am now, too, and I know someday I will look back on it and think, damn, I wish I could go back to that.

  3. A dear friend once married a guy I didn’t think much of, but I kept my mouth shut. She was married on Memorial Day, separated by the Fourth of July and calling lawyers by Labor Day. After watching her go through the pain of a failed marriage, I promised myself I’d never let another friend get married without first asking them, “Are you sure?” Didn’t matter if how well I liked the spouse-to-be, I still asked.

    One thing you have to be prepared for is being told to butt out. Or for them to get pissed at you. My advice on this is to not do it just before they walk down the aisle.

    • that must have been an awful experience, goodness.

      had i known the extent of my perceived issues with the relationship, i would have said something earlier. but by the time the wedding weekend rolled around, it’s too late. she says she’s happy, so i just have to support her (and wish i had been able to talk her out of it sooner). sigh.


    I’m so thankful for you in my life and so glad i got to see you last weekend, even though I’m fairly certain that the wedding hit me ridiculously hard. This post was precisely needed in my life. Love you tons and can’t wait for our next chapters to begin!

  5. LMC

    you know the wedding i attended in february? i dreaded that wedding for 5 years before it happened. for 5 years i wanted them to break up before it came to marriage. i still think that friend is stupid for hanging on to a loser who treated (still treats?) her like crap. i didn’t say anything to her about my feelings; she never asked. none of the bridesmaids have ever liked him. looking back, she never asked us what we thought about him, and i think it’s because she already guessed we disliked him. she probably didn’t want to hear what we had to say. her parents were saddened by her choice (even at the wedding), and they could do nothing to change her decisions. i wasn’t upset with the groom. i was upset with the bride… for not seeing or believing that she deserved better. and for putting up with his shit.

    yeah, i feel ya.

    • i guess we deserve what we accept for ourselves, but it’s so tough watching something you don’t believe in happen.

      you’re a good friend, though, for standing there with her through it.

  6. I heart you for this post. I’m glad you got to go to the wedding and catch up with the old crowd, but I’m also sure it was difficult to see the bride marrying someone you have misgivings about. To be honest, I agree with you. I remember when she got kicked and she still was awful smily and happy still. I’ve also seen her kick butt (esp. mine) over fences and at riding. It’s sad to see that person gone.

    But on the other note: I’m miserable not riding. I so feel your pain. You were right when you said: “I miss everything about it” – every moment I’ve given away to my new life, I still remember how much horses, riding, showing, barn friends were (and will always be) a part of my life (even if the riding/showing part is on hold for the moment).

    ❤ you.

  7. Pingback: the requisite 2011 review | firecracker's follies

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