This week my twin brother has been digging through our old home movies. He is taking VHS tapes and turning them into digital.

After work this week, I have been glued to the computer watching these old videos of my family, my parents, and their friends. One of my favorite videos is of my Mother’s 40th Birthday party. Although I was able to attend, the details of any such event are truly lost on a child. With adult eyes, I now see how important the people who attended were to my Mom, and how many today are still her closest friends.

When I went to lawschool 10 years ago, I had the single goal of simply finishing—powering through.  I didn’t think I would meet anyone in my class who I would have much in common with. Thankfully, I was wrong. I met a group of women who have become wonderful friends and who have, like most people in my life, been a  blessing.

Last night, a group of women came over to my house to visit, and discuss a book we had just read. We celebrated news of pregnancies, new babies, new jobs, ate cake, and I would venture to say, all went home a little bit more whole, more connected, more complete then when we arrived.

So what does friendship have to do with outdoor sports? Nothing, and everything.

People who hike, bike, fish, run, paddle, do so because it makes them feel happy, whole, connected. They have found ways to be their best selves and pursue those activities with gusto.

I believe people are designed to be communal. I do not think we can be our best selves and live a life without friends, relationships. And as I age, I realize more and more how important friendships are.

So while we may have a plan for a run or race in the future, ways to get faster, stronger and better, I think we sometimes miss the importance of being committed to relationships with others. And so, I have a work out plan for all of us this fall.

How to be a better friend fall training schedule:

  • Write a letter to someone who means the world to you, and tell them as much
  • Plan a friend gathering for the winter to re-connect
  • Include a friend in your workouts—walk, run, it will be much more than a work out when shared with someone you care about
  • Make new friends. Yup. I know—this is a hard one for many, but I think it will be worth it
  • Don’t skip out on time with friends simply because you are having a busy week
  • Re-connect with that friend you have lost touch with. Find him/her online and say hello
  • Be a good listener—that is the best way sometimes to be a good friend
  • You make the effort. None of this, “I called last time” fluff. There shouldn’t be a  score card with friends

As I write this list, I realize I have a long way to go…but I want to look back in 20 years at my home movies, and laugh at how funny we used to dress, rather than cry because I have lost touch with those who meant so much.