A little while ago, I made a list of 100 things I wanted to do in a 1000-day window. Some of them were small potatoes - grow some basil! - while others are too large to get done before my self-imposed deadline of May 17, 2014. One of my entries was "tell my friends how and I why I love them," and because I'm a writer, I guess it makes the most sense to that right here.
To Liz: I love you because you constantly take risks and reinvent yourself. You never seem married to the idea of being a certain type of person, but you always seem to have your "ideal you" fixed firmly in your mind, and I find that so incredible and inspiring. You are hilariously, unapologetically judgemental. You are a natural teacher, and a natural collaborator, and the combination of those traits is so rare and precious that you're basically a unicorn. You're a doer, and an incredibly tenacious worker who is always up for a challenge. I have so much fun with you.
To Rachel: I love you because you are a world-builder. You are an amazing artist, but your canvases are neighbourhoods, spaces, and ultimately, people's lives. You are socially fearless. You are a creator. I love that you get bored easily but never abandon your friends and family. When you sat me down, years ago, to tell me I was drinking too much, I was so mad at you, but I have a massive amount of respect for the guts it took a 20-something girl to talk to her friend about that. You always seem human, but you never seem afraid.
To Emily: I love you because you take risks. You're an amazing storyteller. In crunchtimes, you are the most dependable person I know. You're the best at gossip. You make me laugh until I cry. You remember everything, and will usually suggest we try doing it again, but BIGGER. You're growing into yourself and into this city, and while these might be your wilderness years, baby, you're the queen of the jungle.
To Chelsea: I love you because of everything. You're the person who can make the angriest I've ever been, but you're also the funniest person I know. I love the conversations we have that are 100% in-jokes. I love crying on your shoulder and being a shoulder you can cry on too. I love that you believe in yourself. I love that you're still a big kid at heart, and that you refuse to apologize for what you like. I love that any live music will get you dancing, that any body of water will get you swimming, and that you mention your hair about six times a day. I love your totally human, fall down/get back up bravery.
To Abe: I love you despite your terrible puns. You are so mind-blowingly smart but are never a douche about it. You have excellent taste in whiskey. You know your feelings without being ruled by them, which is so rare and admirable. You are cosmopolitan, but you also still wear disgusting teeshirts from high school. You are never afraid to tell people they're wrong, and you rarely do it in a way that makes them feel bad or stupid.
To Mark: I love you because you taught me a lot about what I want. You have excellent style. You always make me feel appreciated as a friend. Your turns of phrases blow me away sometimes. I love that you have big-picture goals about the person you're becoming. I admire your professional goals. I love, that, when we spend time together, I come away just a little more in love with the world.
To Lindsay: I love you because you are such a careful thinker. You have amazing style and the best haircut. Your karaoke rendition of "Gay Bar" will haunt my dreams. We're co-op babies who grew up together. You are so professional and confident in your jobs. I love that you identify problems in your life and actively work to solve them, often in really innovative and non-traditional ways. You're an excellent fiction writer. You are strong.
To Emmett: I love you because you're always up for adventure, whether it's crashing a house party or going halfway around the world to a place where you know literally zero people. You make the best barbecue I've ever had (sorry, Dad). You are unfailingly generous in small ways. You've introduced me to some of my favourite songs ever. You're one of the few guys I know who gets genuinely excited to go dancing.
To Amanda: I love you because you work hard AND you play hard, and you do it in a way that never feels off-balanced or like you're going to wake up on someone's front lawn the next day. You seem to accomplish everything you put your mind to, and you do in a way that never comes at anyone else's expense. I've never seen you be mean.
To Mike: I love you because you're my best friend. You've taught me how to fight well, how to love my body, and how to make the perfect sweet potato fries. I love you because I can picture us together in five years, in fifteen, and on a 40th anniversary cruise of the Caribbean. I love you because you pay attention, to everything. I love you because you're honorable. I love your interest in insane genres like punk and horror, especially since it never seems to make you hard. I love the way you dress. I love your techno-geekery. I love your work ethic. I love that you never seem to stop learning. I love that family is important to you. I love that you're a planner. I love that you ride your bike to work, because that hill is intense. I love you because you call me on my bullshit. I love you because you make me a better person. I love your smile, and I love that, before you leave for work in the mornings, you come back and kiss me goodbye. I love our life together.