Ladies trip to San Fran with Courtney & Nicole
Ladies trip to San Fran with Courtney & Nicole

One of the accomplishments I’m proudest of in my life is making good friends. I always had friends when I was young, but they came and went. I don’t have a childhood BFF (unless you count the ones I’m related to. Thank goodness my parents didn’t let me eff up those relationships). As I got older, I got more loyal.

Nicole and Courtney got picked up in junior high and high school. Courtney can talk me through any good or bad date and always knows the new restaurants and bars. Nicole is probably the person in my life most like me. We just get each other. I picked up more friends for life, like Janice and P. Nicky, in the college dorms and the journalism department. I also plucked some friends from my jobs, including Heather, Commander and Pam.

My friends who double as my family, Tara, Betsy, Chad, Kim et al. and I were young adults trying to make it and needing some help. Chad lived with my ex and me for a while. He helped me move a couple times. Betsy and her husband Chris watched our cat when we were on vacation. Tara became my go-to girl when Derek and I were breaking up. She got it. She knew the right things to say and was good with the pep talks. These are the friends who say, “you have to stay with us every time you visit!” I love them. I need them, even across the country.

Kim, me and Chad
Kim, me and Chad in Seattle

I found some of those friends in New York – Navani, James, Quyn. The ones who say, “I hope you don’t get that job, so you don’t leave,” and “you can stay with me when you visit!” But they can also hear about an opportunity and be happy for me. “That sounds perfect for you … I just wish it was in New York.”

Me, Navani and Quyn in NYC
Me, Navani and Quyn in NYC

These friends are quickly becoming my family. I love them. I need them. Even from far away.

I’ve learned to let some friends go, too. It’s hard to do and we never have to cut anyone out completely, but sometimes you just have to choose who you invest in. You need the best people you can get in your life to push you to be a better you. And you need to encourage them to be better, too. I love the strong, determined, adventurous people in my life who have the softest, tenderest sides. It’s a beautiful combination. No matter where I go in life, I want this A-list with me. If your name isn’t mentioned or your mug isn’t shown here, that doesn’t mean I don’t include you in that. There’s so much love to go around.

I love that Janice’s husband Billy told me that if my life goes to hell, I can always count on the Gurrys. “When you think of hell, think of the Gurrys,” he likes to remind me. Backatcha, y’all. When YOU think of hell, you can think of Candace.

PS Can you tell it’s been an emotional week here in Candyland? I’m all schmoopy about everything.

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