How many true friends do you have? If you stop and think about it, how many are there? How many would swim through shark-infested waters to help you in times of need? How many know every deep, dark secret about you, yet you know every nitty-gritty detail is safe? When you start to look at it from this perspective, the number shrinks significantly, doesn’t it?

Today is my birthday which to those that know me well; they know I don’t like to be celebrated. All I’ve ever asked from my family is on my birthday and Mother’s Day is for them to do the stuff that I normally do every day. I want them to walk the dog and load the dishwasher. That’s about it. I don’t want stuff and please don’t send me flowers.

Today for my birthday, I want to celebrate friendship. At this time in my life, I can honestly count my “true” friends on one hand, and two of these friends are men. These people are the only people who know absolutely everything about me. They know my thoughts, my feelings, my dreams and my plans. I know everything about them as well. We can laugh and cry together, and we call each other out on our crap. When you connect with people at this level, it is deep. It is an eternal bond. You hold nothing back. Without getting too sappy, I know we were meant to know each other, and the connection was inevitable.

A birthday is just another day in our life. It’s the day we mark the day we were born, the day to turn over another number. A few years ago for me, birthday celebrations were an excuse for a group of women to go out together and have a party. Those days were fun as you felt connected to a community of women. As the years would move on and as an individual my spirituality, confidence and self-care would take precedence, my inclusion in the group naturally faded away. It was my moving away that helped me step back and take inventory of my life. What I saw were many years not spent on doing what I am supposed to be doing.

From the outside looking in, I still consider some of these women to be my dear friends; I do care about them. In my feeling so good by taking care of myself, I yearn for them to find a way to do the same for themselves. When I was “in the group”, I know I did a pretty good job of speaking my truth. As time would move on, and new women joined the group, it dampened who some of us were. Being yourself was no longer acceptable. If you wanted to be in the “in” group, you had to zip your trap and go with the flow. That is not how this woman rolls. As the feeling of the group changed, I knew it was not a healthy place for me to be so I slowly dissolved my connection.

One of these ladies is hurting deeply, and it should be clearly evident to everyone that knows her. Because we no longer see much of each other, it’s not my place to say anything to her but sadly, I don’t believe any of her so called “true” friends will either. I have known her to have a lot of pain yet she masks it and hides it in her everyday life. Her life is unhappy, and she is clearly not happy with herself. I lived this life once before, and I know how miserable it makes you feel. You put on the face that is expected of you, and you keep showing up.

This friend is asking you right now, what will it take for you to finally start taking care of yourself? When we change our lives, we have to put ourselves in a very uncomfortable position. As in Nancy Levin’s book, “Jump …and Your Life Will Appear,” you literally have to jump and trust that you will land where you need to be. Yes, it is the scariest thing you will ever do but it is the first “best” thing you can ever do for yourself. After this jump, your life will appear. You will experience feelings you didn’t know were even possible.

I am a true friend, and I challenge anyone ever to deny it. I am not one who wants for myself, but I have been there for my friends who have needed me. I push “me” aside because that is what I am here to do. I am here to be of service; I am here to help others become who they need to be.

A friend called a few years ago in hysterics because when she and her daughter were turning into their driveway, they saw their cat get hit by a car. When I got that phone call, I pushed “me” aside, and I was there in an instant. I picked up the dead cat, wrapped it in a towel, and we were off to their vet. It was the saddest thing I ever had to do, but that is what I would do for any friend. Anyone who knows me knows picking up a dead animal would be the last thing I could ever do! I would do it again and again if needed.

Life is much too short to not spend it living your best way possible. If you can honestly say to yourself in the mirror, “I am happy with my life, and I am true to myself,” then congratulations! There were many years when I was living a lie when I couldn’t even look in a mirror without wanting to smash it! I know how hard it can be. Damn I feel good now!

When we start to change, our environment will also change naturally. You can only exist in the environment with people who are like you. The woman I was at 30 could in no way exist anywhere around the woman I am today. The woman I am today would scare the living hell out of the 30-year-old me. It is completely possible for anyone to achieve this.

The more time we spend alone and look inward, the more we discover about ourselves. To many, these discoveries will scare the crap out of you because it makes you see your truth. It makes you admit to yourself that you just might need to make that jump to make your life appear. It will make you uncomfortable. Trust me, it is worth it!

I’m celebrating friends today… it’s a great birthday.