My childhood and even early adulthood was all about unselfish friendships, being there for my friends, making them happy, trying to be relevant and being insanely in love with them. They were my life and it seemed like they will be there forever. And now I know I wasn’t alone, we all try to find solace in people of our own age; we all have an immense need to be belonged to a clan. After all that’s what we grow up with, the idea of belonging, belonging to a particular religion, belonging to a specific country, belonging to our family and without questioning anything, being extremely truthfully loyal to them. So part of our growing up naturally involves building up our own set of belongings, which usually starts with our toys and ends up with people.
As a teenager, a person is going through severe changes, youngsters need people around them who understand the process, who share the discomforts and who have similar questions. But as we grow up, go through fights, betrayals and confusions, we realize how naïve we are. Actually I’ll correct myself, ‘some of us’ realize how naïve we are (and forget that again after a few months). But we do realize what a risky game friendship is. How much investment it requires, emotional and financial. We realize how we as humans have a built in feature called betrayal within us. We also realize slowly and steadily the value of family, the same family we have been ignoring for all the right and wrong reasons earlier is now more important because it’s more permanent, no matter what, we know they aren’t going to leave us for most of the part and generally speaking for majority of people… because the repercussions of betraying a family member are way higher and usually not worth the risk. Since it’s far harder to betray family who no matter what will be around us forever, it’s so much easier to betray a friend. Friendships are flexible and mostly temporary. Far more fun than family, but sometimes comes with an expiration date.
Those fits of laughter, private jokes and shared memories make everything magical. When we look back it’s up to us if we let the pain takeover or remember the good times. While friendships can be a huge investment, they are effectively important specially in the early life, they can teach us our biggest lessons, they can motivate us to be more cautious but most of all, they teach us the first rule of any relationship which is, you have to make sacrifices, compromises and be ready for heartbreaks.
Don’t take me wrong, fun and craziness that I have had means a world to me, so if I have to do it again, I’ll go through it all over again, but to my younger version I would advise her to concentrate less on others and more on herself, cause in the end you are left with yourself only. Friendship still gets my strong recommendation. But losing yourself in the process and wasting your precious time can cost us more than we might think and that’s what we need to let our kids know, mostly they won’t listen, they won’t understand but as a parent we got to do what we got to do. We can’t teach them how to live, but sharing our stories can be very helpful for the teenagers, let’s start the culture of sharing our stories with the young ones and be their best friends before it’s too late.