Monday, February 03, 2014

Letters of friendship

It's been a while since I've updated, but of course, nothing too spectacular has happened to compare with Kacey and Becker's wedding. But it's worth talking about how our apartment hunt is going.

We're currently looking at trying to sublet a co-op in midtown that would be perfect for our respective work commutes. It's a beautiful space and has lots of amenities, including a fabulous rooftop terrace. I don't want to get too excited about it because we still have a lot of hurdles to overcome, but if we got it, I would be very happy to live there with two of my best friends and their cats.

The application process for a co-op, even if you're a subletter, is an onerous slog through details and obstacles far beyond what's normally required of a typical apartment. The application requires copies of your last two tax returns, assets and liabilities statement with supporting documents, employer letter confirming title, salary and length of employment; landlord letter of reference, and three personal letters of reference (not including family members). They also require you to pay for a credit and background check.

So while we're diligently gathering this information, I wanted to say a big thank-you to Puck, Piper and my co-worker Lori (the wedding speech editor) for providing sterling letters of reference as to my character and being a respectable and upstanding person in general. In reading the wonderful things they wrote, it made me reflect on the choices I've made to bring me to this point in my life. And if I thought the decision was based solely on what these three wrote about me, I think it would be a slam-dunk to get the sublet.

The last time I had someone write a personal recommendation for me was in high school. One of my band directors wrote a letter for me that contributed to getting a full scholarship to the University of Houston, where I eventually earned my BA and MBA degrees.

When I think about my old life and the person I used to be, I am certain that, had I asked for letters of reference from anybody from my previous adult life, I wouldn't have gotten the enthusiastic responses I got last week. Yes, I could have found people who would say I was a good worker, reliable, accountable, trustworthy. But they probably would not have said that my friendship was very important to them. They probably wouldn't have universally described me as a caring and compassionate person.

What does that tell me? That those are the qualities that I've worked hard to nurture in my current incarnation. Being a good friend, being compassionate to others, showing people how much I care about them. I remember how in my old life I lacked empathy and the ability to open up to people emotionally. I still struggle with that from time to time, but trust me, I'm a lot better than the person I used to be.

Seeing these letters provides tangible proof - to me - that I made the right decision and put myself on the path to being a better person, for my friends and for myself. That's a powerful affirmation to have after all that I've been through.