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.
My dear friends, this week’s post is not for the faint of heart.
A friend of mine in Tampa, who battled an inoperable brain tumor for nearly two years, died Sunday. Michelle brought so much light and love and positivity to everyone she met — long before her fight and all throughout it — so it’s no wonder she took her final breath on Valentine’s Day.
I’ve struggled to put coherent sentences together to express how deeply saddened I am for her devoted husband, Ryan, and the entire Fighter community. In ~23 months, Michelle and co. raised nearly $200,000 for brain cancer research and awareness. Petite as she was, her spirit could not be contained.
We met in 2012 through a volunteer organization, High Hopes in High Heels. She was already a Board Member and quickly inspired me to join its leadership. One of my first memories with Michelle had us both snort-laughing and crying over ridiculous stories and inappropriate jokes. She then led our team to reinvent the Children Cancer Center’s Teen Prom, an event celebrating the brave adolescents battling various forms of cancer. This was years before her own diagnosis, and still, Michelle gave countless hours and effort to make the event a huge success.
Whether we were cuddling puppies at a Yappy Hour for adopted canines, toasting with rummy bears on the beach or crashing a wedding, Michelle’s presence was always warm, wacky and welcoming.
Michelle’s network of family and friends around the country have posted continuous messages of hope and positivity. If you’re able, consider donating or purchasing from the Fighter store. In any event, Michelle’s spirit will continue to live on as we aim to BElieve THEre is GOOD in the world.
Rest in peace, sweet angel.
Images courtesy of Facebook & Kaylin Amabile Photography
Happy New Year! At what point is it no longer a “new year”? I hadn’t officially said it to you all … but isn’t it a little late to be wishing you well? Can you ever have enough well wishes? These are the things running through my mind at odd hours in the night. And here’s what else I can’t stop thinking about:
- Photo Doggies for Anthony: Have you seen a ton of cute pet pics all over your FB feed? This viral event has more than a million people supporting a young boy’s desire to see doggy photos between his leukemia treatments. The power of social media can be used for good! Who knew?
- Florida Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage: In other breaking news, Florida is finally on the front page for something positive! As of yesterday, the sunshine state has lifted its ban on same-sex marriage — and millions can rejoice in the legal recognition that love is love.
- Kurios: Cirque du Soleil: I had the pleasure of enjoying my first-ever Cirque show last night with this new-to-the-U.S. production. Breathtaking, dazzling, simply stunning … there aren’t enough amazing adjectives to describe what we saw.
- “Uptown Funk” –Mark Ronson f. Bruno Mars: I can’t think of a song in recent history that gets people moving as much as this one. It’s so incredibly catchy, with a crazy hook and contagious lyrics. Here’s hoping this dream duo continue to collaborate!
I’m feeling much better after a week of illness and some reeeal ugly cries, you guys. It absolutely helps that my cousins are in town for the week to visit — allowing me just enough time for these faves:
- “The Fault in Our Stars”: ‘Twas was the perfect setting to see a movie by myself for the first time. This year’s best read was wonderful on-screen and I highly, highly, highly recommend it.
- HBO Go: A week bedridden was made sort-of OK with this service. 31 episodes of “Game of Thrones” later, and I was feeling almost human again!
- “Fancy” – Iggy Azalea f. Charli XCX: I can’t get enough of I-G-G-Y. One look at my Spotify, and you’ll see I’ve binge-listened approximately 500 times. The “Clueless” music video is just the gangsta cherry on top.
- “Part of Our World”: And I can’t listen to “Fancy” without thinking of this hilarious sketch from Anna Kendrick’s turn hosting SNL. She plays Ariel (“The Little Mermaid”) and teaches Ursula (Aidy Bryant) about today’s popular music.
The best part of a long weekend? Um, it’s a long weekend.
The worst part of a long weekend? It takes the rest of the week to figure out what day it actually is.
I’m 80% certain it’s Wednesday, so here you go, faithful followers:
- Treasure Island: A few days of sand and surf were more than enough to send me straight to relaxation station. You have to check out this idyllic vacation spot the next time you’re in Florida — I know I will!
- Allison’s Baptism: My niece, AKA the cutest child alive, was baptized this weekend and I’m honored to be her Godmother. Just look at that smile! She’s obviously perfect. And trouble.
- The Fault in Our Stars: This book deserves its own post, because I devoured it in less than 24 hours and felt all the feels. The movie looks interesting, too … even if I don’t like Shailene Whatsherface.
- “Not a Bad Thing” – Justin Timberlake: Well, JT does it again. I’ve learned that an earworm stuck in our heads for days is just his MO. The video is also great, because, you know, Jusssstin.