I can vividly remember sitting on my aunt’s couch, wallowing in a pint of ice cream with a side of pizza rolls, as I confessed to my cousin that I was suffering through a devastating breakup… AGAIN.
Multiple guys, multiple break-ups, but it always ended the same; tears and junk food. I will admit, even when I was the one doing the dumping, it still left me down in the dumps. Call me emotional, call it searching, color me blue. For as long back as I remember, I always had a guy in the picture. I have never considered myself the type of girl who needed a guy, but I always seemed to want one, which still left me jumping from guy to guy, relationship to relationship, especially in high school.
Until that one time. Thanks to my aunt, I was given a piece of advice that shaped the rest of my youth. I had been told over and over that eventually it wouldn’t hurt anymore, he wasn’t the right guy for me, etc. But until that day, I never really heard anything that stuck. But more than stuck, it hit me in the face like a freight train. My aunt’s words of wisdom? “High school isn’t for meeting your husband, it’s for meeting your best friends. Save the guys for college.”
I can’t say that hearing that sent me to an instant happy place where I was no longer heartbroken, but it did send me down the path of a little self-love, healing, and a focus on fierce friendships. I tend to be very self-driven, and once I shifted my focus back onto myself, and myself alone, I really learned to appreciate the value of a good friend and got the chance to reorder my goals and dreams. I think everyone can agree that the best way to get over a heartbreak is to find other things that make you happy, and personally, I am happiest with my friends by my side.
I would be lying if I said that I was single for the rest of high school, though after that the boys were far and few between and fickle. The one thing that remained constant was my friendships. Looking back I would describe myself as someone who had a lot of friends, but I also played my cards close to my heart and didn’t show my whole self to everyone. There were a small handful of ladies who knew the true me, on good days and bad, and when I look back those are the memorable relationships I made in my younger years. I don’t remember where my senior year boyfriend took me on our first date, but do I remember the friend who skipped school to wipe my tears after that same boy made me cry. I don’t remember how I got asked to prom, but I do remember the sleepover afterwards with my best friend. To me, those are the memories that matter.
When I think about the possibility of raising a daughter who will inevitably hit the dating scene in high school, I want to be sure to tell her that it’s ok – it’s ok to date one guy for a while, for not long at all, or not even date at all. But I will also tell her to never push her friends to the back-burner for a boy. Because for one reason or another, boys leave, but your good friends won’t. They will, however, be hurt when you constantly cancel plans with them to hang out with your new flavor of the week, only to call them crying every time he says or does the wrong thing. I’ve been that girl. The girl with a one-track mind, who falls hard and fast and gets instant tunnel vision for a guy. I have also been the girl who had no one to turn to for advice because I had alienated my friends for so long that they didn’t know what was going on in my life.
I can tell you now, as I prepare to enter my 30s, life does not get easier as you get older… You get busier, you have more obligations, and your schedule fills up quicker than your Facebook notifications load. It gets harder to spend time with your friends because your schedules don’t mesh, you live far away, you begin starting families, taking vacations, and going on business trips. Before you know it, you will be pining for the glory days and what you want to go back to isn’t your 10th grade boyfriend, it’s the times that you could call your best girl friends to invite them over for a night of Little Debbie snack cakes, Freddie Prinze Jr. movies and all the man-hating stories you can think of. It gets a little harder to do that when you’re in a serious, adult relationship, your best friends all live in different cities, and you’re on the latest diet craze to fight the inevitable belly bulge that happens when your metabolism quits.
Thank goodness for Facetime and unlimited text messaging!
I am happy to say that to this day those same girls are still a part of my everyday life. Through petty fights, drunken nights, the bad decisions, heartache, and the many miles that separate us – these girls have been there to watch me grow and evolve as a person. They have stood by me, believed in me, encouraged me, inspired me, and most of all, their love for me is unconditional. I am eternally grateful for the many years of memories.
To my best friends, thank you for being my friend. Thank you for being my family.
Thank you for loving me through my life’s journey… the beautiful mess that is life as a twenty-something, the awkwardness that was high school, and the craziness that was college… Speaking of college – I didn’t even make it one semester before meeting the man that is now my husband. How’s that for irony?
To my aunt, thank you for the advice. I sure did take it to heart.
Melinda is a married dog-mom who spends her non-working hours binge-watching Gilmore Girls with a large glass of wine in her hand. She’s an anxiety-filled optimist, and if you think that sounds exhausting, IT IS.You can find her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!