As I get closer to turning 30 and I reflect on the last 10 years of my life, I realize how quickly and suddenly life just went by. I think about how different things are today and how I could have done things differently. Mostly, I think about how short and precious life really is. Lesson 3 of What 30 year old Me would tell Myself in my 20’s is, “Make Time for the Ones you Love.” This is a hard, valuable lesson that hit me like a ton of fiery bricks when I was 26 and my best friend suddenly passed away.
I met Gina Luciano (IG: @frequeency) when I was in the 4th grade. I remember her short dark hair that flipped out at the ends so effortlessly. I remember how smart and intellectually deep she was for being only nine years old. We were naturally drawn to each other–like the Universe just knew our paths were supposed to cross. I had her back, and she had mine.
The thing is, Gina had this same effect on everyone that has ever known her. The military physically separated us, but we didn’t lose a beat. We actually wrote letters to each other! She told me about the time her front tooth chipped while she was playing basketball and she would brag about how her younger sister was blossoming to become a beautiful, intellectual woman. I love and appreciate the memories we have together. From taking the bus together to downtown Germany (where we bought our first thongs together–LOL), to sharing Flaming Hot Cheetos during snack time, and checking out soap sculpture library books, then carving bars of soap together during story time.
After we were separated in 4th grade, we both ended up in Germany and got to spend time together while we were there (this was around high school). After Germany, I went onto college and she joined the Air Force–we still never lost touch and as we got older, our discussions were about life and what we could do to make a difference in the world–about how “these boys need to get their shit together…”
Eventually, Gina left the Air Force and she moved to Houston, which was great because I lived in San Antonio. We talked regularly on the phone and even talked about going into business together because our personalities meshed so well. We talked about how we needed to plan a weekend together when her busy flight attendant schedule would allow, and my work schedule was free. That’s the problem–we talked about it. I got on Instagram one day and a mutual friend posted an “R.I.P.” about Gina and it was like the entire world around me turned into a huge cluster of nothing–a black hole. I was confused, I didn’t think it was true, and like everyone else who has lost a best friend, I just spoke to her. I fell to the floor and absolutely lost it. It was the ugliest crying I have ever done in my life.
It’s SO tough for me to re-live this lesson that I learned as I write this post. The world was a better place with Gina in it. The impact she had on peoples’ lives is something you can’t teach. It was hard for me to feel like I was a good friend because we didn’t get the chance to see each other before she passed, and the last time I would see her is at her funeral.
I give you this nugget of my life to say: don’t make excuses. Try your hardest to find the time for the ones you love because it’s just good for your soul be around genuinely good people who care about you. My best friend is physically gone from this earth, but I will take everything I learned from her, and our friendship with me for the rest of my life. Gina’s spirit continues to live on in so many peoples’ lives and I’m grateful for the time I had with her. If I could turn back time, I would definitely have moved my schedule around and MADE time because work just isn’t a good enough reason to miss out on moments with the people who mean the most to you.
Here is a tiny snippet of life lessons from Gina. Take something from this: https://youtu.be/aHdJfzBB2Fc