When 2020 came to an end, I breathed a sigh of relief and welcomed in 2021. How wonderful I thought. No more lockdowns, a vaccine in sight and perhaps life will resume a new normal. Change is good right? It moves us out of our comfort zone, it helps us grow and evolve. I’m all for that – I can do that. Little did I know that my whole world would be rocked and all that I took for granted would change, and pressure, stress and demands would be placed upon me that would call for every ounce of my reserves. Now this blog is not about a poor me, my tale of woes, because we all have one. No, this is not my pity party. What this is, is a recognition of the value of friendships.

I am definitely one for independence. From an early age, I learnt that I had to be independent, fend for myself, do it on my own. And yes, it has always served me well. But truth be told, we as humans are social creatures, our survival is based on the fact that we have always lived in tribes. We are designed to have social connections. And this year, I have learnt that lesson well. Family and friends have stepped in to be my rock, my support. Each and everyone of my friends have guided, lent an ear, a helping hand, a tissue, a pot of soup or walked many a kilometre while I ranted or cried – and not once did anyone ever complain or go missing in action.

I have learnt that good friends show up, no matter what. They support me, encourage me, overlook my many shortcomings and downfalls, they have always (and will hopefully continue) to support me unconditionally, and care for me no matter what. My true friends, walk in, even when they would prefer to be somewhere else. My true friends listen and don’t judge, they allow me to be real. My true friends have not been afraid to be honest with me, and tell me how it is, in a way I can learn and grow. My true friends, have had many a mug of tea with me, laughed and cried, they have shared their wisdom, given wise counsel and for that I’m eternally grateful.

Friendship is about give and take. It is a partnership, in good and bad times. Friendship weathers the storms, enjoys the calm but lasts no matter what if you both put in the effort. No matter how bad the start of 2021 has been, my cup is full to the brim, if not overflowing, with the joy of amazing friends in my life.

As the saying goes: “Don’t walk in front of me, I may not follow. Don’t walk behind me, I may not lead. Just walk beside me and be my friend.”