14 Mar Meeting Ally
When do you solidify your strongest and most valuable friendships? Highschool – because you live in the same neighborhood and have grown up together? University, because you’re meeting people with similar interests? Or at work maybe, because that’s where you spend most of your time? By the time you’re in your 30s, you definitely don’t expect to be making new friends.
Well, that’s what I thought until 33 years old.
Ally and Brendan came to our wedding. I greeted them and probably shared a few conversations that I can’t remember – they were Garon’s friends from varsity you see. So when we received the invite to Ally and Brendan’s wedding, we of course said yes too. Now listen – all the kitchen teas and bachelorettes are often awkward enough if you’re friends with the bride – so when I received Ally’s invite to hers, I quickly found an excuse and politely declined. I mean it was obviously an invitation out of “duty”…we didn’t know each other! I really was doing both of us a favour.
Their wedding was lovely. It kinda felt like Garon and I were way too uncool, with far too few tattoos to be on the guest list. But when the speeches started it all changed for me. Ally’s friends reminisced about the bachelorettes – they recounted more stories of fun and friendship that seemed almost magical. I turned to Garon and said – “I wish I was friends with Ally”.
The evening progressed. We mingled and drank and found ourselves at the photobooth. Next thing, Ally was standing next to us for a pic with a glass of red wine in hand. Without any small talk she abruptly said “You know, when I listened to the speeches at your wedding Jeni, it made me realise that we needed to be friends”. Eeeek, awkward… but “ME TOO!”
So that’s how it started. From that day Ally would abruptly pop up and force me to literally come to the party. “Hi Jeni, it’s Ally – come to movies with me and my friends”, “Hey Jeni, I’m around the corner with Cheesenaks and gin – let me in”, “Hey Jeni – you’re coming to a birthday party with me”.
Ally had a way of making me feel so uncomfortable and “at home” at the same time; that I knew she was good for me. Our friendship has seen me live my worst nightmare arriving at a dinner with her uninvited and needing to pull up an extra chair, Ally showing me that your friends don’t need invitations and that cheesenaks and gin on a weekday afternoon can make all your worries go away. It’s seen us decide within 3 days to go to Bali and survive crazy monkey attacks and even an earthquake (true story). It’s broadened my circle and my views on the world. It’s softened me and hardened me the fuck up too. It’s seen me through literally thick and thin when we entered a weight loss challenge and found comfort in each other’s journey. It’s seen a raw honesty that’s rarely found and a friendship that’s truly real. It’s now also seeing seas between us as she’s moved to Australia.
This post doesn’t have a life lesson for work, because sometimes there are more important things and even mentioning work diminishes that. This is solely a tribute to Ally. A thank you to Ally for making me uncomfortable, for calling me out and taking me out, for choosing me and for keeping me, even across the seas.
My life is forever richer after meeting Ally.