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As women, we need to hold on to our friends from teenage years, as they can keep us connected to our carefree selves.
For many people who I know, their parents’ transferable jobs made it possible for them to live in different cities at different phases of growing up. Sounded exciting to me back then when I heard of this – because it meant meeting new friends in each of the new schools they went to or each new neighbourhood that they stayed in.
I had always stayed in one single place till the time I turned 21 years of age, attended a total of 2 schools and 1 college in those 21 years and stayed in the same apartment complex and neighbourhood for that entire duration. A lot of my friends were or are the same from the time we sat together as little girls in Nursery, up until now.
In the world of meeting new people every day – virtually or at events or in common interest groups, one does form friendships that will last a lifetime. If one is fortunate, one may also find friends who connect with one’s soul in a way that old friends do.
But even at the cost of sounding incredibly boring in this vibrant world of quickly formed friendships, I have to admit that I know myself to be someone whose source of peace comes from my friends from my teenage years. Those years, as we all know, are defining ones for us, especially for girls. The reason I say that is because in India, you are constantly under the pressure to play multiple roles even as a teenager if you are a girl.
Let me share an incident that I recall vividly. There is a set of us who have studied together from the time we were 3 years old till we turned 18. Our school did not have the XI -XII classes and so we had to switch schools at that stage after Class X, when we were 15-16 years old. One of the schools we were trying to apply to had entrance examinations and based on that 1 of my closest friends got through. 2 of us who had given the exam as well did not qualify. So we started applying to other schools. Suddenly, after a couple of days we got a call from that earlier school that the 2 of us had made it to the second list! Well, before that announcement was made, we had already started adapting our thoughts to being in different places. But the joy of being together in the next school too was immense and inexplicable.
I thought these were passing thoughts and being the sentimental person I tend to be, these will phase out as I grow up and discover new friendships. As I pursued my career across different firms and then my baking venture, I met many like-minded people and I have been lucky to identify with them due to the common links or passion. I still believe those friendships are life-long and rock-steady.
But here’s what I have realized over the past few years about the kind of difference that my friends from teenage years made and are still making to my life as a woman.
So, I think that’s what friends from teenage years are – a balm for turbulent times, a steady ship in stormy seas, a mirror reflection of our own internal selves. They are the only ones who will tell you to not rush, when the world tells you to hurry up !
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