If you haven’t already met Michelle, I want to introduce you now. She’s my best friend, my soul mate, the yin to my yang. We met when we were eight years old, and have been best friends ever since. We’ve weathered straight across bangs, countless breakups (not with each other), and more than one set of braces.
We’ve sat together through new seasons and new relationships, and are always available to take an insecure phone call when the other one needs some best-friend reassurance.
She balances me out and knows me deeply, feeling more like family than a friend.
I look up to Michelle for a million different reasons, but one in particular has kept coming up recently.
Michelle is the kind of person who goes.
Michelle puts her airline miles where her mouth is—traveling to all corners of the country just to visit. She’s been to Austin, and Atlanta, and Portland more times than I can count—throwing inconvenience to the wind to be near her best friends.
I’ve always wanted to be that kind of person—the person who buys the plane ticket. I want to travel, to make the trek, because it’s worth it. That face-to-face time, the being there, it makes life richer, more whole, more complete.
But “going” isn’t easy.
In a world where schedules reign, it feels almost impossible to leave. Work feels critically important and when the idea of going arises, it’s met by a sudden opposing sense that you just might be the glue that holds your world together. All of a sudden the “well maybes” and “what ifs” take over—poking holes in all of your reasons to leave.
My cousin died this summer, and my dad and I sat on the phone for a long time debating what to do. We both had meetings and deadlines and were facing the busiest weeks we’ve had all year. Our schedules were already bursting at the seams with things we weren’t going to have time for.
And then we got the phone call. Tragedy brought our worlds to a halt, and we had a choice to make: Were we going to stop, or were we going to keep going?
It sounds, in this moment, like the courageous answer is to keep going. Like somehow we get a prize for pushing through the pain—like that makes us holier or more dedicated to our work in some way.
But as we paced on either ends of the phone, weighing the options, we realized all at once what the right answer actually was.
We had to go, because those are the kinds of people we want to be.
And so we did.
It was expensive and inconvenient—costing us money and time and progress.
But it was worth it.
It was so worth it.
We arrived just as the wake was beginning and as we gave a round of hugs, we each began to cry. We knew we made the right decision.
We spent that weekend in my grandmother’s living room, eating crispy bacon and blueberries by the handful. We gathered around a long table dotted with heaping plates of pasta and carafes of Italian wine. We talked about my cousin and about life and about nothing at all.
And it was so needed.
We needed to be there, holding each other’s hands and crying together. We needed to show our support, to receive the support of others, and to have the time to reflect on such a beautiful life.
But stretching far beyond that weekend, the decision we made was a fundamental one.
We want to be the kind of people who put relationships first—but our schedules tell a drastically different story. We stay late at the office, and answer emails during dinner. We spend money on the crap near the register at Target, instead of putting it towards a plane ticket to see our family.
We claim that our relationships are our top priority, but it’s nearly impossible to tear ourselves away from all of the other priorities that aren’t supposed to have that top spot.
But that decision to go was a dagger to the heart of all of those excuses.
We declared, in the purchasing of the tickets and postponing of our plans, that family is more important than work, and we put our airline miles where our priorities really are—with the people we love.
And this is something I want to continue doing.
I want to do the uncomfortable thing—spending the money and the time and the trek to the airport. I want to leave my weekend routine and the laundry that needs to be done—declaring that people are my priority and proving it.
I want the face-to-face, the in-person—want to make new memories instead of dragging out the old ones when I need to feel connected. I want the dinners and the sleepovers and the time lounging on the couch. I want to see and experience this crazy world with the people I love, and sometimes, that means hopping on a plane.
But it’s worth it. It always is.
Because I want to be the kind of person that goes—just like Michelle.
So with that in mind… Denver, here I come.
How can you put your time/money/energy where your heart is?