Loyalty, Trust & Friendship
I’ve been sat for about a week trying to figure out what 2018 taught me. Sometimes, I think it taught me more than I could possibly quantify, and other times I wonder if I learned anything at all? Instead of sitting here and trying to write about every single thing I’ve learned about over the past 365 days, I’d like to talk to you about just one.
Loyalty has always meant more to me than anything else. It’s something that friendships and relationships live and die by. Inextricably linked to trust, it’s a gift that is hard won and easily lost. Over the course of the last year, I’ve had people demonstrate their loyalty, or lack thereof, in a variety of ways. I’m grateful to every single one of them, because there is no gift greater than being able to separate those watching your back from those who are willing to stick a knife in it as soon as it suits them.
One man has proven time and again to be the most loyal I’ve ever met – Jack Freeburn. He’s as big an idiot as I am, but I can’t think of a single time he’s let me down. I’ve no doubt that it would have made his life far easier to walk away and leave me to it since I got ill, but he never has. What’s funniest is that I know he’ll laugh this off and make a joke because he doesn’t think it’s a big deal. He’d sooner just sit and tell me that Artem Lobov will fight again. (Blessed be the GOAT). If you’re reading this, I hope you know how much that loyalty means to me.
There are many people I could sit and thank for their help this year, but I hope you know who you are. You should, because I wouldn’t be here were it not for you.
These people have shown me the power of loyalty, and that it’s one of the few gifts on the planet that you can only truly repay by giving it back. True loyalty isn’t bought, nor should it be. It’s built over time on a foundation of honesty, truth and sacrifice. If you have a relationship in any form which has been built on this foundation, chances are it’s a relationship you’ll have for life.
With that in mind, it’s also important to know when to finally walk away and admit that the foundations you thought you walked upon have proven weaker than you ever cared to admit. Because that’s the other thing about trust and loyalty; once they’re lost it’s almost impossible to win them back.
As I write this, I can’t help but think of those I’m grateful for and those I’m currently hurt by. The last week of 2018 arguably taught me more about trust, friendship and loyalty than any time that preceded it. My ability to trust has been shaken, but ultimately it will always be there.
You can’t go through life happily without allowing yourself the opportunity to be surprised, for better or worse. You have to trust people. Some will let you down, and others will temper that trust with a force that defies definition, but you can’t experience either if you choose to close yourself off.
If you refuse to move because you’re too scared of falling, you’ll always be in the same place. Life is meant to be explored.
Sometimes you’ll get lost. Sometimes you’ll hit dead-ends and have to backtrack, but sometimes you’ll find yourself in a place you didn’t even know existed. That place is worth the trip.
Happy New Year, folks.