“Old Friends”

By: Danielle Wilson

Fourteen years ago, thrown into a dorm room together, we forged our friendship over cheap vodka, Justin Timberlake and the highs and lows of young adult life.

Here we are now, sitting together, drinking tea around a kitchen counter at 11PM, reminiscing about the ugly tights and big earrings we used to wear, discussing the high points of fashion since 2005, turning our noses at the strange pant lengths that seem to be in style now.

Why don’t we like any of the clothes in the stores right now? Well, it’s okay to not dress like a teenager.

Our trip a few years ago involved more alcohol.  This time around, caffeine is our drug of choice. Joggers and Birkenstocks have replaced “going out” dresses and heels. One of our highlights is brunch, but not because of the mimosas; instead, we’re gushing over the farm-to-table eggs with sriracha mayo and the locally roasted coffee.

We pose for a picture. Our skin is drier, and there are shadows of future wrinkles, but our smiles are the same. A few extra curves here, a few less there, but… meh. Who cares? Our thirties have brought us a confidence that we only dreamed of having at twenty. Less makeup, more chill. Less seeking, more contentment. More settled and more tired. It’s nice to be in this chapter together.

Our friendship is elastic, stretching the distance of time and space. New cities, across the country and back again. New relationships and breakups. Heartbreaks. Loss. Career changes, layoffs, successes. Marriages and babies. Years and years.

Could we have imagined ourselves sitting here in the living room of an Airbnb at 34? Still discussing the men in our lives and the uncertainties in our futures. But now, behind it all, strength that wasn’t there before. It surfaced after discouraging defeats, while living alone in apartments, venturing into new cities, taking risks with our careers, with our hearts, and seeing some of our dreams fail while also adjusting our expectations of others–and surviving all of it.

Our twenty year old selves only hoped that we would be here, together, laughing, over-thinking, reality-checking, validating, supporting and loving each other, still.

If only we had known then that it would all turn out alright.

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