The most beautiful friendship of all

When I asked my friend Paula if she has 10 minutes to talk, I didn’t know she was in a hotel room, in a different time zone and pre-morning-coffee. But she called me right way. And she offered me her full heart and her full mind and the best words she could find.

Over the years, Paula and I have created a beautiful friendship.

Beautiful friendships remind me of the V shape in which birds fly. In the V formation of a bird group, each bird supports the one right behind it and gives it more speed. Each bird catches the preceding bird’s updraft, saving energy. When the leading bird gets tired, she simply and peacefully trades places with another.

Birds make this powerful V shape instinctively.

Supporting one another is an instinct we were all born with. Sisterhoods, brotherhoods, humanhoods, pethoods, we’re not meant to walk and fly through life alone. We’re meant to support each other and to add wind beneath our sisters’ and brothers’ wings.

Supporting one another is an instinct we were born with. We’re not meant to fly through life alone.
— via @MihaelaNG

Yet, entrepreneurs and people who create things often feel lonely. They feel misunderstood. Plus, they work as much as they possibly can. Quality time with friends often becomes a luxury and sometimes it becomes a distant memory.

But it’s never too late to get back in a V shape. When the wind gets rougher, the V formation doesn’t break. It makes adjustments, birds trade places, they rest, and they keep going.

My friend Paula and I have known each other since middle school. We were close friends for four years, but then she and her family moved to another country. Still, we kept in touch. There was no internet back then, so we wrote each other real letters, with real pens and in real envelopes (hers were always beautiful and colored and mine were always bland).

But after several years, there were no more letters. I don’t know if it was boyfriends, college or the anxiety that comes with that difficult age, let’s just say that (young) life got in the way.

Then, one day, I was sitting in my room far away from my hometown and my phone rang. It was my friend Paula. She told me she’d been looking for me for a long time, and was finally able to track me down. I remember that moment clearly. I remember the way the trees were green just outside my window, how messy my room was, how I wasn’t planning to clean it up and how I was sitting on my bed cross legged when she called.

I had dropped out of the V formation, and she gently pulled me back in it.

Since then, we’ve had other times in our lives when one of us dropped out. But when the time was right, we each claimed back our spot in the V shape.

The most beautiful friendship of all is a friendship that knows how to form and keep a V shape, in spite of the challenges that we all go through from time to time.

You might have several beautiful friendships in your life. If you’re working on a business or a demanding project, the friendships in your life are beautiful, infinite treasures.  

If you’re feeling tired, burnt out, confused, it’s never too late to get back in a V formation. Let someone else give you a boost in speed, and do the same for others. Call a good friend. Talk about your product, your business and your life. Talk about your emotions, the questions you have.

Talk out loud. Share. Only you will know the answer, but talking with a friend gives you more wind, to be stronger, wiser and to feel supported.

Mihaela Akers