I was lucky enough to meet Colleen early in my time at this job. She is one of my favorite people because I never feel weird around her. I can talk about anything at all, no matter how strange or potentially judgmental it might be. She never makes me feel like my expectations are too high or like I am stupid. Even though she's way smarter and more precise than I am, and even when I'm kind of a shitty friend, she never acts like I'm less of a person than she is. I don't feel inadequate around her because she always wants to be friends with everyone.
She works really hard and she's actually changed me a lot as a person for the better. She helped me literally get back on my feet after being injured and sick, pushing me to start walking and get out there. She's encouraged me to work out and to do things in NA-YGN and other organizations. She helped me learn that numbers aren't always bad - seeing her daily data encouraged me to learn a little more about how the numbers of my body worked. I also learned a lot about clothes with her. She let me go to the mall and pick out clothes that I knew would fit her and would look good on her, and helped me to integrate more bright colors into my wardrobe.
How many people can say they have a friend of a short time (just a few years) that has changed their perspective on so many aspects of their life in such a good way?
On an unfortunate note, Colleen is moving to California, which is literally as far away in the country as you can get (aside from Hawaii and Alaska). I keep on feeling like I didn't get enough time and that I should have tried harder, and I know that's I should have, but I'm feeling a lot of complex emotion about it. First, I'm super excited for her husband who got an awesome job at Google, which I'm a little envious of and wish the best for him in. Second, I'm excited for their opportunity to live in an area that's more suited to a healthy lifestyle (with the chance to bike to work and be in a more walkable community). Third, I am excited for the change! It's always exciting when something new happens, and I think that Colleen has a chance of getting an awesome job there, because I know she is a dedicated person and that she will perform excellently in whatever she tries to do. Fourth, it makes the prospect of visiting them in California a fun possibility, even if it's a way off. However, in opposition, I'm so sad to see her leave.
I have never had a friend I was so close to that I saw as much of and knew so much about move so far away. I have had an experience where I thought this was happening, but there were so many other negative emotions mixed up in it that it just wasn't this kind of weird emptiness and struggle to imagine time without them. When Laura left for Texas, I was sad, but we didn't see each other a lot even though we're close and return to super-friends as soon as we see each other again. I've had friends move away, acquaintances move away, but no one with whom I feel this strong of a kinship. It has been such a confusing bundle of emotions to deal with because the excitement is still pretty overwhelmed with this sadness.
I've never had this experience before. It's a new one and it is definitely a difficult one. I know it will help me grow and that I will still be able to see Colleen's life every day on her blog, which I am grateful for, but I will miss her a ton, and I will miss Dave, too. It feels like part of growing up; I just hope it doesn't ever mean growing apart.