Eight years with N-. / by Alexandra Fox

I've often wondered about how much energy you should invest in friendships. And by that I mean - is there a point where things are too difficult, where people become too different, that it no longer makes sense to spend time and energy on a relationship that may no longer make sense?

I've known N- for eight years, and a lot happens in eight years - especially when that includes both high school and college. People change; people grow. People discover new things about themselves. People form new ideas of who they want to be. People develop new values they want to live by. 

N- and I have changed a lot since we first met. In many ways, our thinking, reasoning, and behaviors have moved in divergent directions. I have come to believe less in absolutes; N- has moved to embrace them more fully. I've found I don't really believe much in modesty - N- has found just the opposite. 

The way we spend our time and where our interests lie have shifted a lot too. In N- and I's most recent visit, I found that we in fact have little in the way of shared past-times. This perturbed me slightly, and made me wonder if there truly was, in fact, more between us than simply shared history. 

And then I think: Why do I love N-? What makes it important for me to make time for N-? Why do I care to see N- and keep up with how she's doing? And the answers to these questions, in the many years I've known N-, do not change. And I remember that the reasons N- and I became friends in the first place have less to do with shared interests or past-times, and much more with shared principles and ideas of friendship, and how we treat one another.

N- and I are changing. And sometimes, I worry about how much this may be the case. But even as our beliefs and behaviors may change, our tolerance for difference and acceptance of one another does not. N- has always been the one to challenge me, to listen to me, and to embrace me regardless of where we end up. And I know that even given my disagreements with N-, I have always, always been a better person for knowing her.

If I met N- today, I truly believe I would be as interested in knowing her and would grow to love her as much as I do now. But I am lucky to have also had the experience of watching her grow, which makes the experience so much richer. 

That's it. Don't read this as anything more than a love letter to my best friend.... 

- A