Saturday, January 13, 2018

Friendships: A Reason, a Season, or a Lifetime

"True friendship multiplies the good in life and divides its evils. Strive to have friends, for life without friends is like life on a desert island. To find one real friend in a lifetime is good fortune; to keep him is a blessing." ~ Baltasar Gracian

I've never been one to have a lot of friends at once, and the few close ones I do have have taken years to develop. 

But they're the ones you can call on when you don't know anybody else who will listen to your fears and worries and rantings, who will hug you and hand you Kleenex as you sob your heart out, and tell you whether you're simply caught up in the emotion of the situation or whether it really IS as bad as you think it is. And then they'll help you figure out where to go from there.

They're the ones who will call YOU when you try to isolate and say "I'm fine" when it is clear that you are no such thing. They'll beat down your barriers and show up uninvited. They don't buy the "I'm fine" crap you're trying to sell to the rest of the world.  

They're also the ones that you can pick up with right where you left off, no matter if it's been 10 minutes or 10 years. 

It takes intention to develop that kind of friendship. You talk, in person, on the phone, via email or social networking. If it clicks, you keep going.  You go shopping and to lunch. You share at least some interests and go places together -- the home and garden show, the quilting show, the movies, a play or concert.. You show up for their events; they show up for yours. You keep touching base with each other, intentionally. You ask about them and what's important in their lives; they ask about you and your activities. It isn't forced, it isn't really work, because you really want to know. You've clicked over into friendship, a deep, loving friendship.

It's said that friendships fall into the categories of reason, season, or lifetime. I think that's pretty accurate. 

In these days of social media, people have long 'Friends' lists -- numbering in the hundreds if not thousands. I understand that often it is for marketing purposes, especially when one is an entrepreneur and needs to develop a base of supporters -- I mean, who has thousands of  'friends' in real life? Not me. 

I am surprised to see myself with slightly more than 200 'Friends.' Many are people I used to know through various jobs and places I used to live, from high school or college, and while we might have once known each other fairly well, we don't anymore -- but neither of us wants to break that tie from the past just yet. They're the 'reason' or 'season' friendships. And yet there are one or two from this group who I expect to be in occasional touch with, outside of Facebook, for the rest of my life. 

Some are relatives who I don't know very well, especially as adults, but we share a common  family tree and some interesting memories of our grandparents and our sibling parents -- and I've actually come to know a few of them a little better because of the Facebook ties. They're also 'reason' friends, although I will know most through our lifetimes. But where we might have been close cousins as children, we are now merely related adults.

 A very few are people I've come to know through our connection online and while I have never (or only once or twice) actually hugged their necks, I enjoy their stories. And nearly all the rest are people I know, most not particularly well, from living in my current area. 

There are a handful who I count as dear friends. We've gone through at least some stages of the friendship building, and there is a connection that goes beyond social media. They are the 'season' friends --  who may yet develop into the lifetime ones. We are enjoying the journey together, and that's what matters. I am grateful for them.

At least two do not use Facebook at all -- but we pick up where we left off when we do see each other, which may be once every few years or two or three times a year. We send cards, exchange emails or texts, sometimes phone calls. Those are the lifetime friends. 

One of those friendships began in 1982 and has lasted through divorces, depression, alcoholism, anguish over children, our parents' deaths, radically different political  and even spiritual viewpoints, and a (ex)spouse who molested both of our daughters. I know that whoever dies first will have the other at her bedside, if at all possible, to help in that last transition. Because we love each other, warts and all.

It is a privilege and a great joy to have such a friend. I never take these dear friends for granted, and I hope I give back to them the caring and consideration they have extended to me. We all learn from each other in this world, and it is such a blessing to have like-minded people to play with through this life! 

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Time for a change

Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself. ~ George Bernard Shaw

It is sobering -- embarrassing, really -- to see that I did not post here one single time in 2017. And not much in 2016. And I have the nerve to call myself a writer?

Time for a change.

For the last year or so, I've posted daily quotes on my Facebook page every morning: words that inspired me at the moment, sometimes amusing, sometimes a bit close to the bone, but always positive.

You attract what you think about. That's a truth I've learned over the past few years as I've expanded my spiritual journey through the study of Reiki and other energy/light work experiences. Everything works and feels better when your outlook is positive. The Light comes through much more easily.

Old Musings has been around since 2003 -- a long, long time for a blog. I've written about topics that were on my mind at the moment -- family, politics, the news, daily living. Some were rants. Some were answers to writing prompts. Some were sad reflections about grief and loss and disappointment. You can still find them by using the Labels or searching the archives, if you really want to look back. (I confess -- I couldn't bring myself to just blow away 13 years of posts, and I wanted to keep the name of the blog -- so there you are.)

At the suggestion of one of my occasional readers (thanks, Dr. W.), I'm repurposing "Old Musings" into "The NEW Old Musings." I'll begin every post with a relevant quote, and posts will still reflect what's on my mind -- but they will all be positive, in hopes that you (and I) can find the Light in every situation, every event.

If our purpose is to create our own lives, then let that creation be good, be strong and healthy and grateful for all that we experience. Even the hard parts.

If you're still around, please join me again as we explore this life from another viewpoint. And thank you for reading.