O’ beautiful, for spacious skies
But now those skies are threatening
They’re beating plowshares into swords
For this tired old man that we elected king
Armchair warriors often fail
And we’ve been poisoned by these fairy tales
The lawyers clean up all details
Since daddy had to lie…                   

–Don Henley “The End of the Innocence”

Ever have one of those days that start off smoldering with contempt and spiral right into bona fide miserable behaviour despite all of your attempts to change it? That day where one by one, like a Jenga game, the pieces of your day start to fall over, taking your happy-go-lucky attitude with them? The kind of hellish day when all of the positive energy, fake smiles, kind gestures and lame attempts at humour take a nosedive and you are just left with everything in shambles (including your emotions).

That was my day today. To be fair, this entire day really did suck. One lousy, stressful situation mounted on top of the other and trying to conquer them with chronic pain is just asking for trouble. Our failure. Even with this blog post. I had initially written something entirely different, but with one slip of my finger, I destroyed it with the delete button. So…plan B (or, in my case, Plan X Part 203, Chapter 940).

Having one of those days that feel like a constant punishment for something you totally did in a past life (or, in my case yet again, probably something I did last month!?), actually illuminated the extraordinary phenomenon we call friendship. As I get older, my circle has gotten smaller, and therefore, so much more significant.

Today reminded me to be aware and grateful for having people in my life who can lift me up or even just wallow with me, no judgements. No expectations.

Never underestimate the power of stupid jokes told over  crappy radio music while eating greasy junk food shared with a friend. Even without the cheeseburgers, anything done with a friend can make even the biggest obstacles in life seem easy. Just a good dose of support sprinkled with honesty, positive energy and a lot of crazy laughter. It may not be something they noticed, but today I needed my friends when I didn’t even realize it, and they came through for me. Just getting me out of my own head, if only for a few hours, did wonders for the rest of this day, not to mention my own well-being. I wonder if they know that? And I wonder how often well tell people how much we appreciate them, even when, at times, we don’t?

We are living in a strange, volatile time and it is so easy to slip in to all of the negativity and begin to withdraw from the world. Hell, I would buy a one-way ticket to Mars if I had the money! (okay, maybe not, but it does sound tempting). I do think it is times like this that remind us of what really matters and how significant our relationships with loved ones truly are. I have truly learned to enjoy being alone and many times I favour it over other things in life. A time for me to be creative or indulge my OCD cleaning habits, crank my music loud or just curl up and watch a movie or read a book. When I am miserable, I am diligent about staying away and sparing my friends from my nasty negativity. But that becomes too easy and my friends, bless them, come to me anyways.

Cherish your friends. Appreciate them. Tell them that.

We are lucky to have people in our lives that choose to actually spend time with us, comfort us during dark times, and laugh with us when stuff gets even worse. Good friends celebrate our triumphs and successes; they listen when we vent and they offer words of comfort and sometimes stark honesty when we don’t want to hear it. Good friends are like family — that we got to choose. They come in all shapes and sizes and have their  different views and opinions, idiosyncrasies and antics, but they share a common affection and respect of each other and you — your friend.

So, I might not say it enough, but to all of my beautiful, strange, funny, bright and absolutely irreplacable friends — thank you.