This past Friday evening while I was at work I had the honor of serving a party of ten teenage girls. Now, anyone who has ever worked in the service industry has already rolled their eyes at the thought of serving a group of teenagers, period. Before they even ordered their appetizers, I already knew I was not going to make any money off them. They weren’t drinking and they shared everything! So, there go my sales for the night.
[Luckily, the girls were low maintenance guests and they tipped well so my night was not a complete waste.]
By their second round of waters I had eavesdropped enough to realize that the girls were not just meeting up for a casual dinner. After asking if they were celebrating anything special, they responded, “We’re going to college!” I proceeded to make each of them tell me which school they will be attending and found out they’ll be scattered across the country – ten girls, ten schools, ten states. That’s when it became clear to me that this was going to be their last dinner together as a group of carefree teenagers for a long time. By Sunday, half of them would already be moving into their dorms and getting ready to start the newest chapter of their lives.
While this post has nothing to do with starting school – as most of our readers are past that stage in our lives – nor does it have anything to do with a group of teenage girls drinking water and splitting salads, I must say that seeing that group of girls take the time to connect one last time really touched me. It opened my eyes to the fact that our generation needs to start truly cherishing the time we have with our friends because before we know it, it will be too late.
For the girls, college served as their reality check. But, for those of us who have passed that stage of life, we really need to realize that life changes so quickly and we cannot take our time for granted. As much as I wish I could, I cannot ignore the Facebook reminders that people within my social circles are getting married and starting families. Before we know it, there will be no more spontaneous kickbacks turned turn-ups. We will have to schedule time to see each other because our new families and kids will automatically come first.
[ Yes, this will happen.]
Now, when I use the term “friends” I’m not talking about the people you only see on the weekends when everyone is hammered and drunkenly professing love for one another. Those folks are great for the social scene but when it comes to substance and longevity, these “friends” – and their livers – will be missing in action.
The people who deserve to be cherish are those that will be around for the long-run. Those that you can kick-it with, completely sober and still feel the same excitement and happiness. The people that will keep-it-real with you at all times regardless of how you may react. The people that see you as an extension of their family and who want nothing more than to see you happy.
These types of people don’t have to have been around since childhood either. The older you get, you learn who your real friends are and quite frankly, a lot of your childhood “friends” simply do not make the cut! I cannot tell you the amount of true friendships I’ve developed in the past year. It has been so extremely up-lifting. The feeling of undying love and support from people who were complete strangers not too long-ago is amazing. I couldn’t thank them more for making my transition back to living at home worthwhile!
I was at work Sunday night when I got a call from one of my friends saying he and his girlfriend were coming to visit. Little did they know I was already done for the night, but we still were able to meet up and recap from the week prior over burgers and beers. The little things. As cliche as it may sound, the simple acknowledgement of them thinking to call me while they were by my job made my entire day! Each day I feel as though my relationships with my friends – both new and old – becomes stronger and stronger because we value, cherish and respect one another wholeheartedly.
So my advice to our generation would be: please don’t wait until the next big party or the beginning of life’s next chapter for you to start showing appreciation for the friends you’ve maintained throughout the years. It’s an amazing feeling to know your friendship is appreciated – so don’t ever take the time you share with your friends for granted. Cherish them and continue to grow together.