Messages with Friends

I talk to Kate multiple times almost every day. Sometimes it is about work, but many times it is about current events, our families, or she sends me pictures.

We’ve grown so accustomed to talking to each other all the time that we often forget the other person isn’t walking around with us. The other day, Kate texted me, “he told me not to paint with it on!” and I had no idea what she was talking about. Her response, “Oh wait, I forgot you weren’t in the jewlers with me.”

Her response reminded me of my first experience working with a close friend. In my 20s I worked second shift at a corporate law firm with my friend, Alix. At the firm we went from “friendly” to best, best, besties because the job enabled us to constantly talk to each other. We talked all the time. Our work day didn’t start until 4:00pm, so we’d spend all day calling each other to talk about what was on our minds, what were were doing, what we saw, who we saw, and anything else that crossed our minds. When we weren’t talking, we were leaving voice messages. We left long, stream of consciousness messages about everything and nothing. I would call Alix and say, “OK, so I was walking by that coffee shop, on 5th, the one where we saw that famous guy, remember? And…” and on the other end, maybe 2 hours later, Alix would respond, “Uh-huh, yeah I remember…” as if we were having a conversation in real time.

When we got to work we would get coffee, recap the finer points of our day and then carry on talking. I assume we got some work done at some point because neither one of us got fired, but I have no memory of it. I remember spending many hours sitting across a desk with my best friend unraveling the mysteries of the universe and fashion trends.

It felt so normal. Alix was my other self. We joked that we shared a brain. We had so much to talk about it never occurred to me that our habits might seem odd to the outside world.

Eventually, an outsider discovered our GalPal Gab-a-Thon. Alix’s officemate overheard one of my messages and asked, “is that a voicemail?”

Alix replied, “Yeah.”

“It is? What! Why?”

Alix did not understand. She said, “What do you mean?”

He said, “Dude, why is Jen leaving you a five minute message? Does she understand that you aren’t there?”

“Yeah, of courses she does. She’s just leaving me a message.”

Her office mate shook his head and said, “Oh my god, you guys are so weird.”

To hear Alix tell it, she just sat there, blank faced. She had no idea this would seem weird to someone else and she didn’t understand why. We were friends. We had thoughts we needed to share. We liked to talk. What was the problem?

Such is the nature of true love. It blinds and binds us.

Having a friend you relate to so well you almost forget they are not running errands with you is a rare, special gift. The fact that I have had the opportunity to experience it twice in my life is truly, spectacularly, indulgent.

But, that is the boon of doing something with people you love. Working second shift at the law firm was not a great career move. It didn’t pay well and there was no chance of advancement. But, it was a great lifestyle choice. I had my days free and my nights were spent goofing around with people I loved. I had a lot of laughs at that job.  

The same can be said of TSY. Most of the time we are crossing our fingers, hoping and praying we make our ends meet. Our tuition is so low we often wonder just what the hell we are doing and why, but then Kate sends me a message like “Fi is crawling!” along with a picture of her cherubic niece smiling and then I remember why; TSY is not just a business, it is a family. We’re a group of people looking to create a community that extends beyond yoga teacher trainings and yoga classes. We love each other. And we enjoy each other’s company.

I’ve been told that my emails are supposed to offer teaching advice, leadership advice, etc., but this week I don’t want to. What I want to offer you is a piece of advice my dad gave me when I left Spokane for New York City at 18; do not worry about what will happen if you fail. Think instead about what you will lose if you don’t try. Some things cannot be measured by the amount of money you spend, sometimes the experience and the friends you make along the way, is worth so much more.