where the mountains meet the sea

I took a trip to Lake Michigan a few months back with two of my very best and oldest friends. I was lucky enough to figure out long time ago (through less-than-lucky circumstances) that we have the power to choose our family. We can create what is real and lasting in our own lives. And we can create a real home, a home we may not have elsewhere, in the people who show up for us and love us for who we really are, without the need for armor or deep compromise of self. Those people who lift us up and challenge us and remind us that it’s great to be alive, even when it isn’t.  

Decades of friendships means decades of adventures. I have hundreds upon hundreds of pictures of us all, hidden in corners of old shoe boxes and hard drives filled to their maximum capacities. These photos will go down as some of my favorites. Looking at these moments, I can see us in all our stages. Rambunctious and confident kids, hilarious yet miserable teenagers, young adults trying to figure our shit out in a world both too-big and too-small. The best parts of me exist because of what I've learned from these two. I am so proud of us for entering this new stage of life as incredible, unique individuals, because we have worked hard for it. We have made the journey together. 

There is a line in the movie Stand By Me where the narrator ponders, "I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was twelve. Jesus, does anyone?". We have, and we do, and we have grown into family. For that, I am endlessly grateful.