What I've Learned From Shannon Howard

Chemistry lab partner turned best friend — I’ve never met anyone so full of love and life. She radiates happiness, spreading her love and joy to everyone who is lucky enough to cross her path. She’s the girl wearing a bright neon shirt that says “HELLO!” while throwing peace signs up in the air. The girl who convinces you that yes, it is possible to have a constant shit-eating grin on your face. She’s the girl you meet in chemistry and immediately think I need to be friends with her. How lucky am I that she chose me, too. We met five years ago, and have spent more time apart than together, but I still feel closer to her than most. Our adventures have taken us from Portland, Oregon, where we met, to Southern California, Kentucky, Tennessee, Colorado, and most recently, Montana. No matter the miles between us, I know her joy and wisdom are always just a phone call away.

Love everyone. The checkout lady at the grocery store, the mailman, the garbage man, the little girl crying on the airplane, the barista and the breakfast waitress, your family, and your friends. Give your love and kindness to them without question or reservation.

Be your own biggest fan.

Dance. Sing. Smile. Laugh.

Believe in something, or someone, bigger than yourself.

Be bold. Say what’s on your mind, and don’t be afraid to voice your opinion.

No matter where you are in the world, your friends are always just a phone call away.

There are no awkward moments. Only awkward ways of dealing with them.

Anything worth doing, is worth doing with your whole heart. Pour your heart and soul into everything you choose to do.

Speak with kindness and treat everyone with grace and affection.

It’s okay to get silly drunk on a Wednesday night. Especially if you’re in San Diego surrounded by your best friends. Trust me, you’ll never forget it, and you definitely won’t regret it.

Peace. Love. Happiness. If you have that, you have it all.