Friends and Family

Good people make the good times better, and can be pivotal in getting through the inevitable bad times. The people we surround ourselves with also play a huge role in where we go in life and the decisions we make along the way. Though it is not always something I am the best at focusing on, I do believe that the relationships we form through out our lives are in many ways the single most important external factor in life long happiness. There is nothing that can replace good relationships and though they can require a lot of work and sacrifice, they are worth it in the long run.

I have had the honor of having some great friends over the years. I have so many great memories with a number of individuals. So many of my greatest memories were made because of the people I was with. I certainly indulge my sense of nostalgia from time to time, and I am grateful for those who I shared those times with, even though we have all drifted apart over the years. From hanging out playing video games, to playing sports, to surviving high school, and college, there have always been good people in my life. They are the reason I am who I am today.

There are some who have enriched my life that were not really even friends. I can think of numerous times were the fun has been largely a result of either a casual acquaintance, or a complete stranger. For example while we were in Sydney, we had a wonderful night out with a pair of Swedish girls we met that night. We all had a wonderful time, and chances are we will never see them again. Sometimes, there is nothing more rewarding then connecting with a complete stranger. And hey, every friend starts out as a straner. The people you surround yourself with make a huge difference, even if they are only there for a short time.

Luckily, I still have great people in my life. Currently, I am very lucky to have found a wonderful partner (technically she found me). My life has been highly enriched since she wooed me, and I have done a lot of growing up as a result, including leaving behind some rather detrimental habits I had picked up. This trip would not have been the same without her, and likely would never have happened. I can’t imagine missing out on all the awesome times and amazing memories we have made over the past eight months. There are stories from this trip that I will tell my kids, and likely my grandkids should they ever be, and it has only just begun. She has already brought a lot of joy to my life, and will hopefully continue to do so for many years.

I have heard it said that we as people are an amalgamation of the five people we spend the most time with. I am not sure if that is totally true, but the people we associate with do affect us in a myriad of ways. Many of the hobbies I enjoy now I first explored with one friend or another. Some one else first introduced much of the music I like to me. In fact, many ideas that were once new were first introduced by some one I was close too. Others inspire some of the writing I do in many ways, and others always edit it.

Friends are often the ones that most make us think about ourselves. Many of the changes I have made for the better have happened with the help of friends. Life’s challenges and struggles are inevitable. They can be overcome much easier with the help of good friends to be a support network. I will also say that some of those bad habits I picked up partly because of friends, so it can work both ways

The friends worth keeping are those that pick you up and help you be your best self. They inspire you and help you along. It is not always clear right away who those people are. As I have grown and changed over the years people have come into my life or been on the fringes who have actually turned out to be some of the best people to have around. Regardless how they came into my life, or under what circumstances I finally realized they were great people, once I came to realize their true nature, I know it’s worth the effort to keep them around. Good people in ones life are the greatest gift one can receive.

Some times it takes a while before you get to see people’s true face. It can be hard thing to see, especially when you find out they are not the people you thought they were. I will be the first to tell you that I know making friends can be a long, difficult, arduous process. As I get older and people get married and start families and careers and all the other things that life brings, finding the time and making the effort, and finding those that will reciprocate that effort gets more and more difficult. Making new friends is hard, but it’s possible, and there is nothing worse then keeping toxic people around just because of convenience. From what I have learned over the years, nothing else will hold you back quite as much either.

I am extremely lucky that I was born into a close-knit family. I grew up spending a lot of time with my cousins, and we are still close to this day. A large percentage of the great times in my life to this time involve my cousins. Our family camping trips, holidays, ski trips, beach trips, or just running around being kids. We had so many great times, too many to mention.

Once we all could drive, it was game on. Through out my teenage and early adult hood, I have spent more time with my cousins then any other people. I have even lived with one of them. I don’t think I have ever had a better roommate. Now, when I am feeling lonely, it is they that I call. When I am needing something, it is they I reach to. They are rocks in my life. I never would have been able to pick up and leave my home town if I did not know that no matter what, we will always be family. Now, years later, when ever I see them again, it’s like we never parted. It nearly brings tears to my eyes every time.

Though my sister and I are not hugely close, we do have a very good relationship. In fact, she is the only person I know who is making the trip out to OZ to see me. It is always good to know she is there for me, and I hope she feels the same way.

I could go on forever on this subject, but I think I have made my point. I will leave you with a quote: “Happiness is best when shared.”[1]

[1]Christopher McCandless: Into the Wild

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