The Real Value in Long, Long Friendships

When things are going a million miles an hour at work and in life in general, it’s easy to focus on how far you have to go still. You’re so zeroed in on a goal or an obstacle that you don’t stop to take a minute to appreciate how much progress you’ve made. I’ve spent the last few days at home meeting with clients and celebrating my dad’s birthday, and it’s also given me the chance to catch up with people who have known me for a LONG time. While I absolutely adore making new friends, seeing old friends is invaluable. A conversation with an old friend is one of those things that you need every so often in order to help you refocus and see things more clearly. By watching them feel proud of you and impressed by your progress, you start to feel that way about yourself too when you might not have before.

Last night I got to catch up with my favorite teacher from high school. I realized that I’ve known him for ten years (whoa!), so he’s seen me go from awkward, angsty teenager who could barely imagine life beyond Syracuse to almost-26-year-old living and working in Charlotte. Filling him in on life and hearing his perspective on the progress I’ve made was both refreshing and encouraging. Sometimes I get so caught up in the things I still want to do and accomplish that I forget to sit back and appreciate what I’ve done recently.

Particularly when you’ve made big changes or growth in your life, it can be easy to forget about the phases you’ve gone through to get there. Years past can feel like a dream, almost like they belonged to someone else and not you. You may not give yourself enough credit for being brave, learning, and adapting. If you’re feeling a little uncertain, discouraged, or in need of perspective, I’d highly suggest catching up with an old friend, teacher, relative, or someone who can help to give you some perspective about just how far you’ve come recently.

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