on life, ambitions, and dreams

Hey, Long Lost Friend, I Admire You

BFF from: http://www.flickr.com/photos/richardupshur/3582990423/

Last night I met up with one of my closest friends from college. She’s in town and we haven’t seen each other in about a year. Yes, it’s that kind of friendship.

As we talked, caught up, and jumped forward in each other’s lives, I was reminded what attracted me to her and made me want to be her friend–her strong, sometimes brash personality. This is a woman who speaks her mind and has no fear of letting it be known. She lets you know what she’s thinking when she thinks it and you’re either on the boat or a really intense conversation begins.

I admire people like that.

We met during our first term at Portland State. This friend’s college career started at a community college. She dipped her toes in the water then took time off after landing a pretty decent office job.

That lasted for a few years before she decided that she was tired of waking up each morning and hating that job. She wanted to be happy and not “just get by” in life. So she stepped it up and went to the university. But she didn’t choose an easy liberal arts degree (like, oh, yours truly), she chose structural engineering. Engineering. This chick wanted to go play with the “the big boys,” and play she did.

It was not easy. She worked herself through school and piled on the student loans to help make her dream possible. It was hard. But she never quit. Not this time.

I admire determination.

After five years in school, this friend graduated last spring and scored a pretty sweet job in her industry. Her career has started. And last night at dinner, I could see the hardness soften a bit on her. She was proud of herself. And I was proud of her, too.

Sure, there’s other stuff going on in her life that’s not all unicorns and rainbows, but in this one aspect of her life she is happy. She’s still bullish, strong, and her personality can be overwhelming, but it’s so fucking exciting to see someone I care about actually make itsee someone dream big, build goals, and make it happen.

I admire results.

Over at The Squab this week, Shane Mac wrote a powerful post about enabling others to meet their dreams. Enabling in a good way. He asks you to:

Stop letting people talk about stuff and actually enable them to do it. Help them tackle the fear of just starting. Eliminate all the cant’s, no’s, and wont’s before you even tell them to do it.

I like to think that I helped this friend meet her goal. And after I finished the most amazing rainbow sushi roll of my life, I let her know that I’m still here. Still available if she needs a place to vent, a shoulder for support, or someone to let her know that new decisions she’s about to make on are okay. That the next change she makes in life–whatever it may be–as long as it’s right for herself, I am here to support here.

That’s all I can do. That’s what friends should do.

I want to encourage my friends, not zap their dreams. And I hope, expect, require that my friends do the same for me. Obviously, however, if I’m on a path of self-destruction, please let me know (gently).

So as I pat myself on the back and wear a “gold star” of friendship today, I want you hear from you–how have you enabled your friends? Or how did you get rid of a dream zapper?

Photo Credit: RichardUpshur

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2 Responses

  1. Laura,

    First off: Awesome post.
    Second off: Tomorrow we are rocking the ask notebook.
    Third off: Thank you for the quote and realize that I am stoked to have come across yourself and enjoy your writing style.
    …”but it’s so fucking exciting to see someone I care about actually make it–see someone dream big, build goals, and make it happen.”

    🙂

    Thank you,
    Shane Mac

  2. Thinking of your question- how have I enabled my friends? I think it happens on many levels. You have those big, singular moments- but I believe what *really* matters is that continuous, almost subconscious positive enabling that a genuine friend offers. Most importantly: it’s never withheld, rationed or held-hostage.

    The “friends” that don’t provide this consistently and universally can safely be described as toxic. I know- I’ve possessed and witnessed genuine and toxic friendships alike. Earlier in my life our “best friends” were actually quite toxic- it’s shocking, and actually kind of pisses me off to realize this retrospectively.

    Problem was, without an example of genuine friendship, I simply didn’t know any better. Consequently it’s plain scary to think that many people never see the light.

    Now, wiser, I’ve become rather picky with my close friendships. Yes, I might have many “friends” but the few I hold close I know I can trust implicitly and provide that continuous positive support that a genuine friend deserves. You know you have it right when it’s mutual and *natural*. 🙂

    Always a thought provoking post- thanks Laura! 🙂

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