I think of you each time I open a blank page to start writing.
Your encouragement over the years for my writing - be it for work, hobbies, brain-emptying, or pure folly - continues to inspire me. You inspire me to work at it, to not give up on it, to persist until greatness shows its face. And basically...to do it everyday.
You are also a writer. A poet. A creative mind. A wizard of words. A chef. A wealth of knowledge. A caretaker. An aunt. A sister. A doting daughter and granddaughter. An animal lover. And, most importantly to me, a friend that is true through thick and thin.
We met years ago, right when I finished college and came back to live in Queensbury, which, despite being surrounded by family, was a pretty dim time in my life. I took the first job of worth that I could find - an editor position at Tribune Media Services. And when I started training on October 7, 2007, there was a young woman in my class who reminded me a lot of me. And she, as you may have guessed, happened to be you.
Our first real connections had to do with work. This is confusing! This is boring! This software is downright awful! But then we found more to talk about. Lunch. I was embarking on one of the sillier (yet nutritionally sound) diets I've done, called the 6 Week Body Makeover. You remarked at my seemingly endless supply of tiny containers filled with veggies and fruits and turkey. You told me you were vegan. I think I offered you some raspberries.
I was pretty sure you were the coolest.
Over the course of our 3 week training, I met more new friends, notably Miss Kelly Palka (now Mrs. Gallagher.) For the first time since graduation, I had a group of friends. I felt like I belonged. I had people to tell about my crazy morning, or my wonderful (or was it awful?) dates. I had someone to go to Denny's with when we got off work at 12:30am.
I had found my first grown-up friend.
I mean that in the sense that you were my first non-school-connection friend. My first friend in the working world, past the collegiate experience where making friends was like breathing air. I thought it would be hard, but our friendship felt natural to me.
I felt like I had known you forever. And now, I basically have.
This fall, we'll have known each other 8 years. That's 8 years of long phone calls that are supposed to last for 45 minutes and instead go on for...3 hours?! That's 8 years of Feb Sux parties, minus a couple, where we made more new friends, hugged everyone, played games into the night and drove home in the wee hours, flush with stories for each other, even though we'd been hanging out all night.
That's 8 years of selfies.
That's a lot of selfies.
I know we don't get to spend as much time together as we'd like. In fact, I think planning weekends as far in advance as possible is now our best strategy. (What are you doing March 8, 2017?)
But each and every time I see you, I'm filled with a joy that comes from true connection and caring for someone so much who you know cares just as much about you.
So I want to leave you with some wishes - the things that float to mind when I think about Meredith today and Meredith someday when we're old and grey haired and have infinitely more stories to tell each other.
- I wish you good health, and for your health to invigorate those around you.
- I wish you never run out of words - to write or to speak or to sing.
- I wish you good fortune in your fashion finds.
- I wish you peace, in your mind and in your heart, which I know are not always the quietest places, but which are filled with so much love that peace must not be far behind.
- I wish you long life, not just to grow old as my friend, but to watch the young people in your life grow and become old just like us.
- And I wish you inspiration, to carry you to whichever path you choose, to let you soar east, west or straight up to the stars.
You are in my heart, for this and life and the next.