We don’t meet people by accident. They are meant to cross our path for a reason.
One of my closest and dearest friends is a woman more than 20 years my senior. When I was drinking out of a bottle (and I don’t mean Boones Farm) and wearing diapers, she was already married with children. It was unlikely our paths would cross in friendship.
But they did. As fate would have it, 16 years ago we were simultaneously taking a yoga class and psychic development class together. From the moment we met, it felt like we’d been best friends forever.
She is one of the few people I can be completely myself around. No matter what I say or do, she doesn’t judge me. In fact, often it’s the opposite; she understands and cheers me on. What a rare gift this is in a world filled with people who feel it’s their duty to judge.
Our conversations, which take place everywhere from bookstores to coffee shops to her kitchen island, tend towards deep. We contemplate topics like the direction yoga is going in this country (downhill, we feel), and why the government is trying to kill us by allowing GMOs and other questionable ingredients in our food sources.
She is a friend who, when she answers her phone, I can launch immediately into a topic without offering a greeting, and she responds without missing a beat. We talk most mornings while I make the long commute to work, and sometimes on my way home, often as she’s walking her beloved rescue dog.
We’ve had amazing adventures together. Ten years ago we completed a year-long yoga teacher training, during which we’d take spontaneous day trips to places like New York City to try out a yoga class. Once we signed up for a meditation class , befriended the instructor, and two years later were invited to Boston to visit her guru who was visiting from India. What a wild ride that was.
My friend is a woman who does what she wants, says what she wants, who thinks for herself, and doesn’t apologize for who she is – the good, bad, and ugly. When I was younger, I would sometimes find her outspokenness and honesty borderline brash. Now that I’m entering mid-life, I understand the intolerance for bullshit, the need for authenticity, and the value of being direct, even if it rubs someone the wrong way. Truth often does.
I’ve always valued our friendship, but the past year and a half my friend has become my role model, and in many ways my hero. Watching her lovingly and tirelessly care for her husband as he died of cancer was nothing short of breathtaking. Seeing the way she’s moved forward without him, navigating the new territory of widowhood with grace, dignity, and courage has inspired me. She has shown me that it is possible to keep living even after great trauma, pain, and loss.
When one hears the term “soul mate” it usually conjures up images of the perfect romantic partner. I think soul mates can also be great friends, people who were put in your life to share a unique journey with you. It’s all the better when that person is older and wiser than you, with life experience to share.
To that end, my friend is my soul mate, a true gift from God. I look forward to our continued adventures together.