I’ve always found that the holiday season is a very telling time for people. It’s really the one time of year when everyone is in high spirits, feeling festive, and showing appreciation to those who have helped them survive yet another year…or not.

This past holiday season and last night were especially eye-opening for me. As this was the first December at my new job, and giving holiday presents was forbidden (not even discouraged) at my last job, I didn’t expect to receive anything from my co-workers, who have already treated me so well with flowers upon my acceptance to Business School, a celebration for my birthday, etc. etc. One morning, I walked in to find a ton of gifts and thank you letters from administrative staff and physicians, for my hard work over (not even) the past year. It was truly unexpected and I was so happy to find that showing appreciation was not completely banished from Corporate America.

The next eye-opener was during New Years Eve, when most people choose to be with their close friends and loved ones (and usually not a bunch of randos). The ladies of the castle and I hosted a party to ring in the new year with all the people we care about. December 31st came around and I started receiving a flood of calls and text messages from people I hadn’t seen or spoken to in over five years, asking to come over – clearly because they hadn’t planned well and were hoping it would be okay to ‘swing by’ with friends, boyfriends, boyfriend’s friends, and the entire Greater Boston Area. You definitely know who your friends are NOT when they try to rekindle close friendships from high school as an excuse for a place to celebrate…which is why when they showed up in our apartment, we promptly threw them out (thanks Lans)! P.s.-We’re not in high school anymore.

The final eye opener was last night, when we had a KTK (kill the keg) party in honor of the one and a half kegs we had to finish off STAT (and return to the liquor store). A friend of mine, one of my oldest, closest, and dearest friends who I met while taking ice skating lessons in first grade (he’s still ashamed of having taken ice skating lessons), walked in to the castle to assist with finishing the kegs. This is a friend who, for the past 13 out of 18 years, has lived around the corner from me. It is extremely rare to find someone who has known you and been there for you for three quarters of your LIFE. Not only has this friend seen me fall on my ass during ice skating lessons at the age of 6, but also played in the park with me during recess, witnessed my awkward elementary school phase, my awkward middle school phase, my awkward high school phase, my ongoing adult awkward phase (?), attended my bat mitzvah, gave me a hug and shoulder to cry on when four of our middle-school classmates were killed in a bus accident, witnessed my first relationship, my first breakup, my first heartbreak, my first time leaving home for college, my 18th birthday, my 21st birthday, most recently my 24th birthday, picked me up when I was down, and as of last night, was ready to assist with drinking a keg when we needed help. My point is this – in my 24 years of existence, I have come to find that great friends are almost impossible to come by. Not just friends who will go to the bar with you, gossip, and see you once in a while for a dinner date, but the friends who have seen you fall time and time again and always offer their hand; the friends who have seen you cry with makeup up and down your face over a boy who continues to hurt you and still offer to listen; the friends who accidentally think your bed is their bed and drunkenly crawl in in the middle of the night; the friends who, when you trip and fall in public, will not walk away pretending they don’t know you, but laugh with you and warn you of the uneven sidewalk ahead. Basically, the people who have seen you and your flaws at their absolute WORST, and still love you anyway.

I know that life seems to speed up as the years go on and that everyone is always busy with work, family, school, this, that, and the other thing, but please – if you are as lucky as I am to have such incredibly wonderful people in your life, make time!! Make your hearts and schedules more accessible, and in relation to the post below, tell the people you love and appreciate HOW MUCH you love and appreciate them…ALL THE TIME. It is the easiest thing to do and yet, it sometimes seems we have become so jaded that we are okay with assuming that they know how we feel. Change that and REALLY surprise someone. Make this the first New Years resolution that you actually keep!