One of my gal pals told me that she “threw away” all of the pictures of her former boyfriends. She put their stuff in a box and mailed it back to them. That is a definite method to erase former loves from ones’ life and the funny thing is how like-minded we are in our methods. Complete erasure.
I laugh because my Dream Team, just like the USA Olympic basketball team, is comprised of a host of people who dominate in their positions but we complement each other. Only the Dream Team could pull men together from different teams, with different strengths and annihilate any competition from other nations. As I think about graduation, I think about what I really gained from the collegiate experience.
It’s my hope that after it has all settled and the seal on your diploma is still fresh, you remember what matters most in life: relationships. I have found the best in myself by surrounding myself organically and intentionally with a team that rivals me and champions for me. To procure the best in yourself you have to have a diverse and deeply talented host of friends who kick you in the butt when you need it and save your hide when you think you never deserved it.
I remember the time that I was in New York City visiting members of my dream team. Salina had suffered another heartbreak of the year and was in post-undergrad job transition. Liza was in the city two seconds when all her stuff was stolen except her purse. Bona, my gal pal from South Korea, was getting pressure from home to get married even though all she wanted to do was to finish pursuing her graduate degree. Sara was preparing to go to optometry school.
There we were in the city that doesn’t sleep and on that hot summer day, we came together in the embrace known as the “Land Before Time Hug.” Remember the story of Little Foot and his dream team of dinosaurs who made the most unlikely of friends and allies. But when the time came for them to work together and help each other, it happened. They had grown together in opposition and in togetherness and transitioned into better beings and the best of friends.
Between Salina’s other epic break-up and Liza having one of the worst nights in the city, we all sappily embraced each other in the concrete jungle in the heat of the day with luggage and love. If we didn’t have a friendship born by trial and fire, we would not have become the type of women who could collapse in each other’s company when needed.
I now call several gal pals doctors. Dr. Diane is a lifeline when I need to randomly talk about fistulas in Africa. I texted Dr. Melodie to randomly ask her about HeLa cells when I finished a book about Henrietta Lacks. I can email Dr. Adina to ask about business models of the wine industry in Canada, thanks to her research and wine tasting abroad. And I call on Dr. Traice when I am trying to figure out the coping issues for some of the kids I volunteer with in Columbus Public Schools because she is a clinical psychologist. Can you imagine a better crew of #winners?
People often discuss that commencement is simultaneously the beginning and the end. I think of some relationships in my life as not having a beginning or an end. These are women who are near and dear to my life. They are my “ride or die” friends. Some I have known since I was five, others for five years although all feel like a lifetime. Graduation is a moment but a Dream Team develops excellence for a lifetime.