Taylor - Leddin Life - Friends

In this week’s column, Taylor talks about staying connected with friends spread across the country.

While the pandemic has of course made it hard to be social, I was already in a position where I couldn’t see many of my friends in person that often. Over the last few years, it seems like all of my best birds have flown the coop — one moved to St. Louis, one to Salt Lake City, one to Scottsdale and one down to Champaign for vet school.

So, I’m used to having to Facetime and stay in contact via text. But, as we all know, sometimes that gets a little old. Because of this, I’ve made it a point to find new ways to stay in touch with my friends.

Let’s start with Scottsdale (real name: Jason). When Jason moved in May 2019, we had a farewell dinner at Steak ‘n Shake and, in true best friend fashion, we both showed up with gifts. He gave me a Southwest gift card (which I put to use when I visited him in December of that year) and I gave him a stationary set, a book of stamps and different pre-written letters for him to open on different occasions (e.g. “Open when you’re homesick.”)

From then until present, we’ve been staying in touch the old-fashioned way through use of letters and postcards. Of course we still Facetime and text, but this gives us each something to look forward to when checking the mail as we never know when another letter will pop through.

Next, we go to St. Louis (real name: Haley). Haley and I have been best friends since college and even have the same birthday. That, coupled with the same major and a love of “The West Wing,” made us bond instantly. It was weird enough after graduation not seeing each other every day, but when she moved to St. Louis after grad school, it made our in-person hangs even less frequent.

We’re both big into planners, list-making and journaling, so we decided to start an email thread where we sent each other an email at the end of each day where we listed three good things that happened that day. Even if it was something trivial, we enjoyed sharing it with one another because those were the things we were present for all throughout college.

Lastly, we have Champaign and Salt Lake City (Maddie and Rachel, respectively). The three of us work best as a group, so our communication is often shared via a group chat. We’ve all been friends for many, many years — we basically have our own language.

Part of that language is a shared love of music, and recently we were rapidly texting about our favorite vocalists, guitarists, drummers and so on and so forth. We share a love of the past with an appreciation of the present, so the names of the artists listed were varied.

This inspired us to create a collaborative Spotify playlist to share our favorite songs with one another, in an effort to introduce each other to new music. With this, I’ve been introduced to a number of songs and artists that I never would’ve thought to listen to on my own.

We also started a shared Google Doc to post good recipes in after we’ve tried them. Both of these examples have given us ways to stay in touch with each other’s day-to-day in a unique way.

I miss seeing my friends in person, and I’m sure you do, too. But, it’s comforting to know that your best friends are always there with you — no matter how far away they may be.

Taylor Leddin is the Life editor at the Daily Journal and is the editor of Lifestyles of Kankakee County. Her column, “A Taylor Made Life,” publishes every Saturday in the Life section. She can be contacted at 815-937-3369, tleddin@daily-journal.com or via Twitter @leddinlife.