Let me first say a hazard of being responsible for maintaining our social media presence at work is sometimes getting distracted. One day last week, my work was TOTALLY derailed.
It happened while updating my company’s social media sites. I stumbled upon a Facebook post of my beautiful best friend’s lovely pedicured feet wearing the new Birkenstocks her work friends had just given her for her birthday. I blinked hard. Blinked again. Then I rubbed my eyes. I leaned in closer to my monitor to see if I was missing something, thinking perhaps it was a joke. Then I finally exclaimed, “WHAT THE…!” Really? Birkenstock’s? Her? Seriously. No. What? Huh. I recognized her toes; those were definitely her feet (a testament to our years of friendship). I was truly in a state of shock. I was at a loss, confused. Not because I have anything against Birkenstocks, but because this was so largely out of character for my dear friend. Perhaps I can best explain it by saying she’s more of a Jimmy Choo kind of girl (during the work day, at least). I have other friends who wear Birks and I think nothing of it. In fact, my own new favorite shoe is the Ahnu Vegan Karma ballet flat. It’s not like I have anything against “crunchy” footwear, but to see her step her pretty little teal-painted toes into a Birkenstock was an absolute shock to my system. At 3:45 pm from my desk, I tweeted: “My best friend is wearing Birkenstocks & I’m not sure how I feel about it. This is not the woman I know & love. I feel lost.”
At 4:00, I still couldn’t concentrate on work so I texted her: “I’m really distraught over your shoes! I mean sandals. WTF, Bobbi? What is going on??? I’m dying. 😂 It’s not the shoes, it’s you IN the shoes! I mean it’s so out of character for you! We definitely need to get together before we become completely different people. OMG.”
And this was the crux of the issue. I obviously don’t care what kind of shoes she (or anyone) wears. What got to me was feeling like the slow evolution I’d been watching my friend go through over the years had finally taken a fairly drastic turn and I’d missed it. This is the heart of the matter. I know it sounds silly because this started over a stupid pair of shoes (er, sandals), but to me those shoes signify something greater. They got my attention.
We’ve been through a lot together over the years, but I suddenly realized that although we are both going through tremendous personal growth right now, we are each going through our own growth independently from each other. That is how this works. My growth is my own; hers is her own. My husband has his own experiences, and my children have theirs. Our lives overlap, but they are still our own. And this is how it should be. We talk and support each other and are often inspired by each other (I believe this is the definition of a healthy relationship, right?), but growth only occurs for ourselves when we cultivate and nurture those bits gathered from conversation, observation, reading, prayer and contemplation. What grows along my life’s path might wither away alongside hers. And the things she chooses to nurture might not be the same for me.
Indeed, we met for dinner last Friday, and we talked and laughed and cried for hours. And I shared with her the portion of this post I’d already written [which was most of it]. Until that point, she had also thought I was just giving her a hard time about her new hippie sandals, but now she really gets it. And that shared moment discussing all of this led each of us deeper into our individual paths of self discovery and growth. For us, it’s important to continually share and exchange ideas and continue to inspire each other. Just because we’re evolving independently doesn’t mean we’re growing apart.