I’ve written about my friendship with Bryan before here, but there’s nothing in the rule books that says I can’t be continuously grateful for a person. Today just happens to be a special day because it’s his birthday, and though I can’t spend it with him, we will celebrate in a week or so. So above all, happy birthday to him, even though I feel as though I’m the one who has the gift of him in my life.
Since I’ve known Bryan I’ve had a number of great conversations about life, the world, and staying genuine and authentic. We’ve developed an acronym-laden language few others understand, a series of inappropriate and irreverent jokes (most involving Pinky, but I won’t elaborate on that), and a friendship I don’t want to live without. For the latter part of the summer we’ve explored the trails of Forest Park on our mountain bikes, startling “woof”-inducing runners and deer alike.
I’ve been treated to see Bryan as a whole person; his vulnerabilities, insecurities, confidences, and passions. I think it’s unfortunate, but there are far too many times when life presents you with guarded individuals who will only show you their best selves; people who save face and concern themselves with how others perceive them. Bryan lives his life and is unapologetic, but empathetic and understanding. He’s served as a great model of balance for me, and through him I’ve learned the importance of caring for myself, putting myself first, living mindfully, and letting go of expectations. I’m not great at any of these things, and it is through him that I’ve noticed I can be selfish, greedy, co-dependent, and controlling (but certainly not all of the time). Seeing him balance the positive qualities and being accepting and understanding of people’s negative qualities is a skill Bryan has mastered, and I’m happy to learn these lessons from him.
Now that the Portland winter is starting to settle in we likely won’t have many more bike rides at night, but I know we will find other ways to strengthen our friendship and create meaning out of our lives. So it is with much excitement that I wish “happy birthday” to one of my best friends.