Figuring out who you are? Look at your friends

Okay, it’s finally here – my 30th birthday is tomorrow. Everyone is right; turning 30 is not as bad as I thought it would be (although I’ve been much moodier than usual, for which I must apologize to my friends and coworkers). It’s just a number and I don’t envision waking up tomorrow feeling any different.

I think part of it is because it feels as though my actual birth day has already passed. I had my party last weekend – a lovely dinner with wine that flowed freely and friends who drove from as far away as Las Vegas and San Jose to celebrate with me. Friends who witnessed my awkward junior high school days (17 years ago!), fat high school years 🙂, coming-of-age college life and evolution into adulthood. Even my closest cousin attended who I’ve known all my life and whose family made the trek from Toronto to Florida to California with mine.

People often say that your friends are a direct reflection of who you are, what you feel and how you act – so choose your friends and significant other carefully. Are you mutually supportive and nurturing or does one person constantly drag the other down? Is your life better because of this person and vice-versa? Just as you feed off your environment, you are affected by your friends’ emotions, belief and energy. After 29.999999 years, I have learned to choose my friends carefully and to remove myself from friendships I find draining, unequal or unreliable. It’s never fun or easy to end friendships but I have and I believe I’m better because of it.

As I surveyed the table that night, filled with warmth that either came from the love of my friends or my fifth glass of wine, I felt truly blessed to know each person. My friends are a caring, welcoming, diverse group of men and women who all have such interesting lives, stories and beliefs. They’re successful in their own rights; some professionally, some personally and others via education. Among my friends, there’s a lawyer, architect, magazine editor, marketing consultant, health care professional and a self-proclaimed “Jill of all trades.” Some are married; one is a proud momma of four and two have already lost a parent (both to cancer). Some seem to have life all figured out while others are still discovering who they are and what they want. But they’re all incredibly smart, strong survivors who hold tight to their beliefs and fight the good fight – “Warriors of Light,” as dubbed by Paulo Coelho, one of my favorite authors. If I am a fraction of a reflection of how my friends are, I am truly lucky indeed.


“A warrior of light knows his own faults. But he also knows his qualities.

Some of his companions complain all the time that ‘other people have more opportunities than we do.’ Perhaps they are right, but a warrior does not allow himself to be paralysed by this; he tries to make the most of his virtues.

He knows that the gazelle’s power lies in its strong legs. The power of the seagull lies in the accuracy with which it can spear a fish. He has learned that the reason the tiger does not fear the hyena is because he is aware of his own strength.

He tries to establish what he can truly rely on. And he always checks that he carries three things with him: faith, hope and love.

If these three things are there, he does not hesitate to go forward.”