Create a Life You Love

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I'm an author and podcaster and my specialty is helping women navigate big decisions, life transitions — creating lives they love.

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Create A Life You Love: Comes out on April 30th!

Growing up, my friends and I did everything together. We completed fourth grade, were at each other’s birthday parties, went on double dates together, and consoled each other through countless breakups. We picked colleges together, rushed sororities together, and took classes together. At the same stages of life, we could relate. We weren’t doing any of it alone – providing the perfect camaraderie and help when life got heavy.

But something weird and unexpected happened after college.

It wouldn’t have been unexpected if I’d known to look for it, but it was. I’m sure I was warned about it several times, but I thought we were exempt – me and my best friends.

When we graduated college, we went separate ways. Not all at the same time, but slowly.

The summer after we graduated we were together for a while, two of my best friends and I taking a road trip up the west coast.

It was the perfect post-grad present: endless time together, exploring new cities, really good food and lots of time at the beach. We went to Vegas for my birthday, to southern California for Kelsey’s, and ended up at her parent’s house in Portland, eating breakfast at noon and drinking really good coffee.

But then things changed.

Kelsey left for a DTS in the Dominican Republic and I went to Ghana. Michelle went to Costa Rica and then I came back. Kelsey was still gone, and in a heartbreaking phone call, Michelle told me she was staying in Costa Rica for an extra three months.

I spent my first few months post-college, alone.

Then things changed again. Michelle came home and so did Kelsey and for a blissful few months we were all in the same place.

And then I left for the World Race, and Michelle left for Spain. And this time Kelsey was alone, missing us terribly.

This pattern has repeated, all of us moving pieces on a chessboard, our lives changing drastically over and over again. And that’s just with three of us. I can't even begin to talk about Shannon or Laura or Lauryn or the rest.

My girlfriends make up a whole game of musical chairs, covering the continent and sometimes even the globe.

It’s happening with relationships too. We each move into one and sometimes out again, each one of us being the only single one for a while. We ask the same questions, go through the same heartache, and panic about being left behind. I began a relationship when nobody else was, and then Michelle joined, then left, and now it’s Kelsey’s turn.

Our lives are changing completely independently of each other and sometimes it’s really hard.

We’ve cried and lamented and we’re praying that we’ll get to live close by again soon. But here’s what I’ve realized in the meantime.

The thing holding us together is understanding.

We each are going through different seasons, working in different jobs, dating, not dating and breaking up. We’re happy and sad and conflicted, at different times and over different things. And sometimes it threatens to pull us apart.

The pain of loneliness hurts so much more when you’re the only one feeling it, and happiness feels lonely when you’re feeling it alone.

But we’ve tried to understand.

As we’re lonely and isolated and happy and confused, we’ve done our best to meet each other in those moments. We’re learning slowly what it looks like to be loving and supportive and unbelievably excited for someone who’s going through something entirely different from us. We’re learning that our love for each other doesn’t rest on season or situation or any external factors. It’s more than that.

And so sometimes it comes in the form of being excited for each other when our own relationships are falling apart, or being happy for someone leaving as you’re getting left behind. It comes with listening when each other is hurting, even when we’re the happiest we’ve ever been, and understanding the craziness of a new relationship when we’ve never been more single.

It’s hard and uncomfortable and sometimes it seems easier to throw up our hands and say ‘you just don’t understand.’ But it’s really good.

It’s so good and it’s worth it. Having people who understand you and love you, no matter the season is priceless, and it just takes getting over yourself for a second and taking the time to listen.

I’m praying that some day we’ll all be in the same place – with houses in a row and lots and lots of parties. But until that happens, we’re going to talk on the phone, and laugh and cry and visit. And no matter the season, we’re going to continue going through them together.

And so to all of my soul mates living all over the country, to my friends who are married and dating and single and somewhere in between, to everyone who’s unemployed, under employed or living their dream come true, to my friends who have seen my best and my worst and everything in between, I love you. And I can’t wait to live in a row of houses and have lots and lots of parties.

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  1. jmdickey1 says:

    Stephanie! I’ve been reading your blog for 6 months or so. You’re writing keeps getting better an better. I love this story- my best friends are in Germany and Hawaii and TN. And here I am in Peru. You’re speaking to my heart this morning. Thank you.

  2. I totally agree with the girl who posted above, I feel like this is exactly what the Lord needed me to hear today! I’m a senior in high school and right now the reality is finally hitting my best friends and I that soon we are all going to be in different different places. We are all dealing with the struggles of wanting to move on and get to college but also realizing with that means saying “ta ta for now” to each other. Thankfully, I am comforted by the fact I really do believe the Lord has knit some of our hearts together and that this isn’t the end of the road but in other cases it is so hard saying goodbye. Thanks for the assuring words Stephanie!

    • Stephanie says:

      Abby, I’m so glad it was encouraging! If it helps… I’m still best friends with several of my friends dating all the way back to third grade. It takes effort, but it’s absolutely, absolutely possible!

  3. Kevin says:

    Stephanie, I am friend of Kacie’s and I occasionally read your blog! I love this post and it really hit me because some of my best friends and I are also spread so far apart. Thanks for the great read! You know you’re a great blogger when your words can translate to other people’s lives, and make them smile about similar feelings. And you’ve never even met them.

  4. It’s hard to maintain friendships with people living in other parts of the country (or world) but hearing some of their stories makes it worth it. I have a few college friends that we can pick up right where we left off and those relationships mean the most to me.

  5. Dawn Muench says:

    Love this. You are a perfect story-telling picture picker! 🙂

  6. Erin says:

    Thank you for this blog…I love it!!! It captures my heart in so many ways. I’m in the seventh month of my Race and I miss my girlfriends SO MUCH, and also have missed out on lots of their important life events. But I’m so thankful for the understanding and love between friends despite distance. A precious gift. 🙂

  7. eesmith05 says:

    Thank you for this blog…I love it!! It captures my heart in so many ways. I’m in the seventh month of my Race and I miss my girlfriends so much! I’ve missed a lot of their important life events, but I’m so thankful for the understanding and love among friends despite distance. 🙂

  8. 夏于淇 says:

    Hi Stephanie, i have been reading your blog and I simply was been touched by some of your words written in just right away like in this article I read with a same love for those of my friends who are not in a same place as me but were. I love them badly, was in this place in China where we were been through many together, who were been seen in my highest and my lowest everything in between. And I found out that I live as I have loved them ever even more would rather than before I think about them a lot and a lot of times as I am told sometimes especially a few do they think about me. But we had to keep the faith and live out love and spaces for new special people to come into our life as once we have had with those. The same love but the never same level, moreover, perhaps an deepened increased different level in another side of the world. One of my best in UK, and the another best in HK, and another one would known to whom I had an unfinished conversation with at my 16th birthday is in Australia. I do love them rather more for now ever than it were.

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