There are a few things I wanted to tell you at our 10-year reunion, but since I won’t see you in person anytime soon, here’s what the women who shaped my formative years need to know.
I’ve spent time in Guatemala, France, India, and the United Kingdom, but my love of culture started a long time ago. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when, but the best group of friends I had as a young woman were 6 girls: Indian, Orthodox, American, Middle Eastern, not religious, Asian, Protestant, Black, Muslim.
We spent our weekends reading Cosmopolitan and laughing, dancing, dress shopping, and celebrating life and each other.
When one of us was hurting – like our friend who had a secret boyfriend her family wouldn’t approve of because he was from a different sect of the same religion (think Southern Baptist and Church of Christ), we were all hurting. When we succeeded, like passing an AP test for college credit, we all succeeded.
We didn’t know it then, but we were an anomaly.
Not only because we were young women who were incredibly different and still rooted for each other, but because we loved each other. We didn’t just tolerate each other. It never even crossed our minds not to be friends. We may have had different beliefs on primordial soup or the age of the earth and who created it, but we loved each other.
Looking back, you 6 girls may have been the very best friends that I’ve had in my life. You thought differently, you annoyed me, you pushed me to think in new ways. Honestly, you’re the reason that today, I can have conversations with people who are nothing like me. In an age where we can unfriend or mute people we disagree with, I value these friendships even more.
Do all your friends look or think like you? If yes, then I challenge you to enrich your life with different viewpoints and cultures. Love people who are different than you. Cheers to you women, ten years later, this time with wine.