My daughter made a couple of comments in her blog this week that made me think about my relationships with other people. I have very few BFFs if I’ve used the current lingo correctly. I’m fiercely independent and I can be a bit of a recluse at times. Yet, I love people and I have a lot of friends and acquaintances that I enjoy. You already know I do a lot of emailing and writing rather than talking on the phone. However, this week I’ve come to realize I’m a “people junkie”. I’m not sure I could go a week without communicating with someone. I enjoy a variety of people for a variety of reasons. Each brings something unique to our relationship. Each has shared a portion of my life in a way no other person has or will.
I used to think of the people in my life as jigsaw pieces making up the picture of who I was, and so if a piece was gone it created a hole. But that isn’t true. Once a person is a part of your life, they have changed it forever. Each relationship creates change and change creates physical or emotional reactions. Those reactions become a part of who you are.
I like to think that I contribute something to each relationship as well. I try to be understanding and helpful. I try to be available. I try to be positive. I think it’s the nature of humans to want to please others. You can’t have a successful relationship, even a casual one, if you are only interested in what the other person can do for you. But I no longer waste my time on people who only cause me grief. I once thought of myself as someone who could help people to the point of “fixing” them. Most people don’t want to be fixed. They just want to do what makes them happy. If what makes them happy leaves you miserable or angry or afraid, then you are simply in the wrong relationship, with the wrong person. Best to move on while you still can.
I didn’t have a lot of close friends as a child. But I never remember feeling lonely or upset for very long. There simply wasn’t time. We moved so often that I not only learned quickly how to make friends and adapt to different social groups, but also how to give them up and move on. My only real regret is that my very best childhood friend died just as we were getting reacquainted as young adults.
My aunt told me a sweet story a few weeks ago. Thanks to the internet she located a woman she had been friends with many, many years ago. She’d never forgotten the woman, came across her photo recently, and decided to look for her. She not only managed to find her and talk to her, but they plan to get together soon. Finding someone like that is like looking at a movie of your past. No one else shared that brief period of time with you in just the same way. No one else shares those exact memories.
As I get older I can see that some of my relationships will last as long as we are both alive. I like that. I like the feeling of continuity. That’s a gift for a gypsy like myself. Other relationships, especially with younger people, are more temporary because I know they will move on to bigger communities, better opportunities. I also look forward to new relationships. I’m enjoying my new colleagues. I’m getting to know new people through my work in the community. I’m emailing new people because of my blog. Some of the newer people in my life have caused me to reexamine my ideas and opinions-just another opportunity for change.
I seem to spend a lot of time lately thinking about relationships and friendships and family. I suppose that happens as one moves to the other side of fifty. Now that I’m quickly sliding toward sixty I am more and more grateful for the people in my life who are still here. Each year someone close to us dies. I remember my grandmother commenting on how sad it was to be the last living member of her very large Sunday School class. She treasured the friendship of each of those women. She treasured the times they had spent together, the prayers they had prayed for each other, and the laughter they had shared.
I challenge you this week to take a look at your own relationships. Don’t waste time on people who cause you stress or pain or anger. Instead, give more of yourself to those who add to your joy and peace and strength.