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     Friends.  Such an interesting word.  We use it to describe many things: people we enjoy talking to regularly, people we spend most of our free time with, even people we meet in high school and now avoid on college breaks   It is a sort of universal word to describe people we know who are not family but anything more than casual acquaintances   By this count I have hundreds of friends, yet I could not name a hundred people I talk to regularly.  So, if all these people are “friends,” how do we distinguish the masses from our real friends?
Well, on paper its difficult because our real friends might be just as annoying, may get us into just as much trouble, and could even be out of communication just as often as all those pretenders.  But real friendships are a feeling.  We practically all know that feeling.  It is something simple, pure, and undeniable.  It is comfort.  It is truth. It is real.  It is what I found in Denmark.
     It’s hard to explain in words how I feel about the wonderful group of people above.  For one, they are as perfect a description of friends as one could ever find.  They are perfect because in their imperfections I find no shame and see only individuality.  We grew very close over the four months we spent together and whenever I think about Denmark they come to mind.  I would count these four as people I would hope never leave my life. We did so many things together and went so many places…it is only right we continue to share all the new experiences our lives bring.
     What is more, Denmark was somewhat of a reformation of myself.  I went in with an open mind with the intention of forgetting myself and all the limitations I bring and for once allowing life to simply flow around me and take me where it pleased.  I did not stress about school, I did not question my every move, and I did a lot of stupid things.  Hell, before I left I was uncomfortable with alcohol and my total life consumption probably amounted to about 2-3 servings.  Now I am not only more comfortable around alcohol, I am comfortable with myself. With these friends I discovered another side of myself I never knew, aside that always lay just beyond the veil of responsibility.  And I learned that I don’t have to protect myself within a bubble to be responsible.  I just need to know my values and stick to them  That does not mean I cannot experiment and have fun!

Before going to Denmark, my good friend Becky Deffler told me this: “Kevin, don’t be responsible for once.”  I did that, and I discovered that when you have great friends like these you don’t always need to be responsible…someone will ALWAYS have your back.  That is friendship.

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