Lauren has been my friend for 5 years. When we became instant pals week one of college, she was a spunky, messy-headed, creative, and ambitious individual. And though she absolutely is still all those lovable things (she recently wore a tiger costume to med school, for instance), she has grown by leaps and bounds in these years I've known her. She's less agitated by stress. More comfortable with confrontation. She has grown in wisdom and in the (legitimately difficult) art of letting things go. It really is remarkable to think of all the ways she's become more herself since I've known her. Seeing her life filled with more grace, humor, and honesty makes me happy. That girl is alive. Even from 3,000 miles away, she is a thoughtful and faithful friend and I'm happy to count her among my closest comrades.
Happy Birthday Lauren. 2013 is gonna be your year.
. . .