Ah, alas a subject which I am all too familiar with. A long distance friend used to be a paradox amongst people less than a century ago. In those days people had pen-pals, but that was still all too different to the limits we have reached in our digital era. As a sailor, my life has been shifted from one location to another in a relatively short amount of time; thus I’ve had to leave and make new friend on every move. This has given me the opportunity to recognize how important the people I leave behind me were and still are.
In the military we have an unwritten custom in regards to friendships. When a member transfers and leaves a friend behind their friendship is frozen inside a metaphorical “time bubble”. If the members were ever to meet again their friendship would simply return to the state it was in regardless of how many years have passed. To a member this simply comes with the territory. We learn from an early start of how fleeting life can be, for us forget those that have been dear to us at one point in our lives is a terrible concept. These are people who might have been your only friend in the darkest of times, and as such the member learns to cherish them dearly. After all, these people eat, sleep, breathe, work, live, and protect each other even when the military is such an emotionally overwhelming environment (unlike the movies, in real life the bonds of brotherhood are extremely rare, so much that you’re likely to have a few members that hate your guts too) so the important ones become that much more valuable.
To me this extends past the military, and into friends that I have cherished since I was a teenager. I have three friends that I have been through thick and thin with since I was twelve years old, and they are invaluable to me. For the sake of protecting their real names I will not mention them, but I will post some pictures. These guys have been my favorite part of growing up, and even when we made mistakes or hurt each others feelings our friendships held strong. The one on the top is a friend whom I call practically everyday to make sure he’s doing well, the two at the bottom, I play video games with on a regular basis (I still can’t beat V at Super Smash Brothers 4!!!!). We grew up very close to one another, and all three are the closest thing I have to a family that is not blood related. You see while I was growing up life was not easy (it still isn’t). But, I learned quickly that you needed friendships to survive, and as such I picked from the best people that were available to me. This allowed me to realize that friends were a family that you could pick and choose. We can’t very well determine our biological relatives, but true friends can be chosen with some good judgement (pretty sure luck also has a lot to do with it). I love them all, they are just regular people that are simply trying to make the best for themselves. Yet, in my heart they are magnificent individuals with hopes and dreams that they will one day achieve. Thank you for making my life bearable guys, I can’t stress that enough.
This isn’t to say that our friendships are perfect. Far from it in fact; the friendships I have with these folk have been steeled through the hottest flames on earth. There were times when we didn’t speak for months/years due to the decisions we had to make or things we said without ill intentions that were misinterpreted. In those times, I have stepped away, and simply let time run its course. I have been forgiven, and forgave the trespasses that we have committed on each other because I know the value that they hold to me. I could simply not imagine my life without these guys being in it, and I hope they feel the same way about me. Due to the fact that we all live in different states (every single one of us) the time differences, work schedules, and life-in-general that seem to conspire in order to forbid us from spending the time we would like together. But, our friendship stays strong. This is what made me realize that the only true treasure in life is not gold, but friendship.
It is theorized that it takes a minimum of seven years to form an unbreakable bond with a person (your mileage may vary on this). In the military this is reduced to two or three years of being stuck in the same awful situation together. It’s not well documented on why this is the way it is, but my own twist on it is that misery just breeds camaraderie between folks of similar tastes, and personalities (the military is a very serious environment, even if we take time to goof off every once in a blue moon). While we keep this in mind, it is not hard to see how in order to make the best of a situation the members have to pick someone (from a very limited pool) to confide in. Sometimes this works out great, and you get some amazing friendships… Other times not so much and you end up with someone who we like to call the Blue Falcon (if you don’t know what that means go catch up on your military lingo). For me it has been amazing though. I’ve had the opportunity to meet some of the most amazing and caring individuals whilst serving in the military. Each with their own story filled with amazing challenges that they have had to overcome in order to get to where they are at this moment in life. Each of these folk have changed my life in more ways than one, and for this I have to thank them.
I’m not going to specify any names, but a special mention goes to two individuals who broke regulations in order to protect me during an emergency evacuation of the base. I didn’t know it at the time, but his wife was a distant relative of mine (we were both unaware of this until my grandmother met her). But, these folk will forever hold a place in my heart for taking me all the way to Camp Roberts in order to get more milk supply for my son (6 months old and breastfed at the time), and then hosting me in their house while the crisis went over. We had only known each other for a small amount of time, but that was so unexpected that it will forever leave a mark in my heart and I am proud to call them my friends/family. I can’t stress this enough, the military is a difficult environment that is not for everyone. But, I’ll be damned if I say that it has not provided me the opportunity to meet some of the most courageous people in the world. Their deeds shall forever live on in my heart, and will not be forgotten. Thank you! From the bottom of my heart my dear friends.
On a lighter note it was best friend day on June 08, 2015. I was surprised when my buddy Pepecampo called me to wish me a “happy best friend day”. But, it was an extremely pleasant surprise. It’s not much of a commercialized holiday, and I wasn’t even aware of it until then, but the gesture was very much appreciated. I did some research (by this I mean Google) and found out that friendship day is on August this year. These were some humorous news because I never knew that day was even a real thing. I don’t know what I’ll be doing that month at this point, but I hope that everyone remembers to cherish their friends everyday that they are alive. Life is much too short to hold grudges that happened years ago. No matter how much it hurt back then; never forget that time heals all wounds. Trust me when I say that you will regret it more, if you don’t forgive the mistakes of those whom you once called a brother/sister in-spite of the lack of blood relations. You might just discover how much they were missed once they are back in your life.
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Seriously though if you didn’t like it here is a picture of a baby for you:
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