30 Before 30
In honor of my upcoming 30th birthday, I’ve researched countless “things to do before 30” lists. And while there are plenty to choose from, I kept coming back to “Thirty Things Every Woman Should Have and Should Know by the Time She’s 30.”
The List was originally published in Glamour by columnist Pamela Redmond Satran in 1997. Over the next 30 weeks, I’ll be tackling each item on The List and reflecting about it here… publicly (gulp). I hope you enjoy and we can grow together. After all, turning older is a privilege denied to many.
By 30, you should have…
10. One friend who always makes you laugh and one who lets you cry.
Before reading this week’s challenge, I thought I’d have it in the bag. I’ve often been someone who has many friends in various groups, but just a handful of close friends I trust beyond surface stuff.
My mom was my best friend at a time when it wasn’t cool to be so pleased with your parents. I thought I’d be able to pick the laughing and crying friends out in an instant — after all, those I’m closest to are all people who keep me in stitches and don’t mind (or don’t vocalize that they mind) me crying over everything, from Publix commercials to family tragedy.
But then I read Kelly Corrigan’s take on what these friends meant to her. She details how quickly they came to her side — literally and figuratively — after she discovered a lump in her breast. As a self-proclaimed guys’ girl, she wasn’t a woman who enjoyed dainty drinks or Pilates chatter. But it was women who saved her life, both in surgery and in solace. They made every effort to help her through the darkest of days, and she now holds a special place for the girlfriends she “cultivates and collects” friendships with.
As the saying goes, art was imitating life in full force.
A dear friend called me last week to say she found lumps in her breasts. The lumps were malignant and aggressive, meaning she’d likely need a double mastectomy, plus chemo and radiation. I crumpled in my chair, unable to form coherent or comforting sentences.
Here was a young woman, who held my hand after my dad’s diagnosis — who let me sleep on her couch the night before he died — who had been through so many of life’s challenges already, and she was about to begin the toughest fight of her life.
I hate to say “life’s not fair,” because we all have our battles and it’s all relative to what we’ve experienced. But to be dealt this hand, to have this challenge ahead, is a true test to her unbreakable spirit and strength.
She’s a friend I can always count on for a laugh — she even made jokes while sharing her diagnosis, for God’s sake. And if I remember correctly, we managed to throw in some SNL references for good measure.
We cry together, too. She lost an immediate family member in a terrible accident, was by my side when my dad died, and we had tearful goodbyes when we parted ways in two major cities.
I’m so very fortunate to call her my friend, and I hope to be able to visit soon and be by her side. Until then, I hope she finds some comfort in knowing how much love and support she has, and how grateful I am to have her friendship through these difficult days.
To my friend, and to all of these friends below, I’m gobsmacked by how much strength I find in you. When I’ve faced my own toughest times, you’ve been there without question and without judgment. I hope my unconditional love for you is felt far and wide as well.