I celebrated my 25th birthday this past weekend with four of my oldest friends. We referred to the weekend as “the queen’s quadrancentennial,” the queen naturally being myself. 😉 Officially, the birthday is a couple of weeks off yet, but a party happened in Chicago last Friday-Sunday. The time was such an amazing gift for me. With over a decade of relationship with each of those women, I love all of the memories we have lived together. And I love that when opportunity presents itself, we travel the country to get to one another– be it from Texas, New York, Illinois or Michigan.
This time as we gathered, I was mindful of much new space… Allison is preparing to graduate college, Kelsi is getting married in June, Bethany is looking to a year of transitions with her oldest headed to school and Mercy and I have both moved and begun new jobs. Over martinis and sushi, pancakes and omelets, coffee and clothing racks, the stories started flowing between women–exhilaration for what we have accomplished that we were unsure of, heartbreak over where we’ve each tasted forms of disappointed love, hope as we’ve found new love and new life (some of us forever), laughter as reminiscing began and sparkling eyes as dreams for the future were shared.
Music was played loudly, looks were exchanged across tables as eyes flitted from storyteller to storyteller, and the bonds that pulled us each together so long ago were affirmed– different today, but carved deeply within us and filled with familiar delight. As we wove in and out of playful and heartfelt conversation, I felt us embrace tender strength and wild banter, bold confidence and cautious vulnerability. Each woman brought her messy, intricate beauty to the others, because we remembered that with each other, we are invited to be fully ourselves.
When I was entering the weekend, I was mindful that 25 already looks different than what I had imagined for myself– where I live, what I do, who I’m with, where I am going. I am so far off course from the plans I had when I first met the women I shared life with this last weekend. And yet, I am so filled with gratitude for where they love me completely, celebrating each and every act that has taken me further away from a well-planned existence.
These women are markers I have of the growing beauty of my heart, and there is so much goodness in that. So here is to releasing 25, may it be as unpredictable as the other 24 years my heart has beat and may I continue to share the road with strong and steady companions.
Katy Johnson lives, dreams, writes, and edits in a messy, watercolored world. She’s a 24 year old, discovering her hope, her longings, and the wild spaces in her own heart. Her favorite creative project right now is called The Someday Writings, and someday, she may let those writings see the light of day. For now, she is honored to be a part of Red Tent Living.