"It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them." 
Ralph Waldo Emerson

What a gift it is to love and to be loved. There's something profoundly distinct about having the love you give to others be reciprocated with the same kind of passionate fervor. It's this almost overwhelming sense of peace, mixed with joy and comfort. It's an indescribable sensation. It's like being in the comfort of your own home, but home happens where you make it. Old friends are home personified. I have come to believe that undoubtedly as I've spent time away from my people, my legion, and my comfort. Every time I separate from them it's like leaving home for an extended period of time. Then, I see them again and I'm met with the warm embrace of a place I've seemed to always lived in - a place that welcomes me with open arms, cheek squeezing hugs, and big laughs. It's a place that has long felt both surreal to the point of being almost a phantasm but then also only feels like the only reality that could exist. It's this juxtaposition of too good to be true, and so good it has to be true. Having your friends be your home is one of the most powerful things life has to offer us, it allows us to live in others, and for them to live in us. 

The past few weeks have been filled with tears, smiles, laughter, hugs, kisses, touches, and looking into the eyes of others. I mean really seeing people, for who and how they are. It's this intimate, almost invasive camaraderie between people who care for one another deeply. It's being able to look at someone and for them too look at you with the same ethereal fondness. Fullness - that's the only way to describe it. Not in the way of bellies but of hearts, spirits, and souls - fullness from being back at home with the people that give you sustenance. Why do we deprive ourselves of this uniquely human experience, and instead treat it like a rarity instead a necessity? It's a puzzling paradox of priorities. To be out in the world, chasing down our dreams, fulfilling passions but to be doing so distanced from those that make us feel our best, most loved, and most human. I think more than anything in adulthood, to have all the people who have allowed me into their lives and opened their hearts to me to be in the same place would make my life. To be just a short trip away from someone I've shared myself with, to have the access, and proximity - that's a sincere gift. These little trips are just that - too little, and too infrequent. I am reminded every single time I am reunited with my doubtless friends of how impactful their presence in my life really is. The way that my entire personality, my whole understanding of myself, and all that I have endured, changes never ceases to amaze me. My appreciation for that noticeable change knows no bounds. 

Trust and belief in another person, with all that you are, with all that you carry with you, with all that the world has charged you, is a mundane sacredness. It's an oxymoron, but that is the only way to articulate the betwixt and between nature of being connected to those you love and who love you unconditionally back. I often take for granted how much either history and/or depth of relationship grants me permission to be genuinely vulnerable. It's when you're shouting over the loud music at a bar recounting all that you've been through, or listening intently to your friend share their joys or hardships when your feelings well up. It's an intense need to express how much someone means to me, right then and there, as if I'll never see them again, as if their life depends on it, as if it's the only thing that matters. It's a frustration with not quite being emotionally literate enough to say precisely how you feel but finding solace in the implicitness that your friend knows. Talking to someone as if they're you, or a part of you rather is authentically personal. Getting to speak with candor, gumption, and near reckless abandon has this accompanying liberation that doesn't happen very often so it feels ardent. It's followed by a meta moment of looking around to realize that you are surrounded by an earnest love. It's a meta, out-of-body experience when you feel need to be grateful just for who you get to be around. I always get lost in a stupid grin as if I'm proud, and I am - of who I get to be because of the people around me, but even more so who they have become even with us miles apart. Tell your friends you love them. Tell them, whenever you feel the need to. Kiss their faces. Touch them. Hug them. Look at them. Love on them. Love them out the blue. Love them just because. Love them like you love your home because they are it. 

The way I laugh when I'm with my friends is a hearty body-shaking laugh. It's effortless, comfy, and liberated. That laugh, and the freedom that freedom that comes with it is priceless. What I am continuing to learn about my relationships with all those I've made home with is that I also have the capacity to keep expanding where and who that home is. We have to try. Where we are now, who we're around, and when we're there. It's wonderful for those we've given keys to already, but what about those who we're circling now, not just who was near us before. The familiarity of home also has to serve as a catalyst to leave home to seek out new adventure, new experiences, and most of all - new people to settle into home with. It's so important to leave space in our hearts for new people to join us. We have to be open to the possibility of making another one of those cosmic connections. When we don't leave space for others to be welcomed into our lives we miss out on the opportunity to gain another lifelong connection. That option to let someone else in, to let them know us, and for us to know them, to learn, and grow with them - that too is fundamental to the human experience. As often as we are able, we have to strive to be open, to be welcoming, to be kind (not just nice), to be prepared to celebrate the humanity of another. I believe we have an infinite extent to which we make home with others. We should be selective but not exclusive with who we do so with. More homes and more people in our homes when we have the room for it can never be a bad thing.


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