Before I get into today’s topic – just some follow up to yesterday’s entry…my cold has gotten exponentially better in one day. I still don’t feel 100%, but I started feeling much better when I had my mother’s home made tomato soup. Sorry, it’s not canned, it’s the real deal and it was fantastic…but aside from tasting good, it was also filled with Vitamins A and C, potassium, some iron and of course, everyone’s favourite antioxidant – lycopene. It’s very strange, and not recommended by Dr. Oz, but I do feel much better.
Now back to the “Whiz-ard”…
I’m officially in the touchy-feely part of the book – “Being Beautiful” which is about building better relationships and finding your path to happiness. There are a few pages on the importance of friendship. According to the book (page 280), “Good relationships with people (and having a real buddy) can help stave off depression, add years to your life, especially if you’re trying to weather the storm of stress.” They also ask some questions which I’ll paraphrase:
-Do you have strong relationships with others that are strong and healthy and contribute to your happiness?
-Have you found ways to give to those people, showing your gratitude for the gifts that you’ve been given?
-Are you able to dig a little deeper with those people and get beyond the superficial?
These questions made me think back to a day at my esthetician’s – I was lying helpless on the waxing table or she was zapping my zits, and we were having some very deep conversation about friendship (after we quickly discussed her fabulous shoes and lovely bracelet). She said something that still resonates with me today – she didn’t come up with it, but I’m going to give her the credit anyway – friendship is for a reason, a season, a lifetime. Truer words were never spoken! You don’t realize it until you get older, because when you are in your teens and twenties, everyone is your friend. As you get older, and people disappoint you (cue the violin music), your true friends are revealed but, and it’s a big but (not that kind – and that’s spelled butt, silly) – it doesn’t mean that the other people aren’t important because they may have touched your life in a very profound way. Let’s examine this and no names are being used, to protect the innocent and not so innocent:
–A Friend for a Reason – My friend for a reason was someone that I thought would be a friend for life, but I think we disappointed each other in some very real ways. I don’t dislike this person, in fact, on some level, I will always care about what happens, and I can’t say whether they will ever be part of my life again, but they did come into my life for a very important reason. I also had some of the best times of my life with them – my first non-family trip away was with her, my first trip to Europe, some ridiculous moments in residence at York, learning to get freebies together…just a lot of very fun moments. Some of the not so fun moments were when I felt that she wasn’t there for me when I needed her friendship, even though I was always there for her or realizing for the most part, our friendship meant that I had to do more of the heavy lifting so to speak. On her side, she thought I didn’t accept her boyfriend(s) – although that was never the case – and I also disappointed her, by not being the best friend that she needed. I never needed to have just one bestie, and to her, the fact that there were people in my life who also fulfilled this role was a disappointment. I’m sure that there were other things as well, but like I said, for a very particular reason, she was my friend and this reason was probably the thing that was the most important thing that had happened in my young life. I can’t tell you what it is, c’mon, I need some level of privacy, but I’ll be eternally grateful to her and hope that if one day, she reads this, she’ll know that her friendship still means a lot to me.
–A Friend for a Season – We’ve all had these, friends that are fun to hang out with, for a moment in time. There is no big blow out, just a casual drifting, always intending to call, but never quite getting around to it. I’ve had a few of these in my life. Again, there is a reason for this friendship – a fun buddy to get you out of the house, the smart friend that you can bounce ideas off of, or just a friend who you enjoy spending time with, but for some reason or another, you both simply get busy with your lives. These are the friends that I look back on and have to think about a bit more than the “reason” friends, simply because the friendship just isn’t that deep.
–A Friend for a Lifetime – I’m lucky to have a few of these. I’m going to tell you about three in particular (no offense to anyone else, but I can’t write about everyone – I’ll get to you in another entry). The first is a bunion sufferer. She’s also the only friend that I’ve had since childhood. Don’t get me wrong, we sometimes drift in and out of one another’s lives, but because her parents and my mother are the closest of friends, she’ll always be around. There is a comfort in speaking to someone that knows your entire history. There is also comfort in knowing that when something is happening, that is quite devastating, that they care about the person that it’s happening to. Again, it’s the history that binds us, but the bonus is, that I just genuinely like her, she’s funny, a great speller and really have some interesting insights. Plus knowing someone from childhood, means a lot of in-jokes that are funny to you, but non-sensical to someone else. Kit and Joey anyone? Je t’aime Papa? OK – I’ll stop, it’s annoying when people do that to me.
The second person is an all purpose friend. I met her on a trip almost twenty years ago and she has become my true all-purpose friend. I laugh with her – a lot…but more importantly, I’ve cried with her, and never felt judged or weak. I’ve been there for her, and she’s been there for me. When I went through a family illness, she’s the friend who knew when every appointment was, when I needed distraction, or when I needed to talk. Most importantly, she treated me, the way she always had. We would get together and do the things that we always did and that little piece of normality helped me through one of the most difficult times in my life and for that, I’ll always be grateful. I’ve told her this before, but the thing that I admire the most about her is that her needs are simple – and believe me when I say this is not an insult. It just means that she’s satisfied with her life, and anyone who is happy with their life (not that her life is perfect) – is to be admired.
The third person is a friend that has been with me through thick and thin (literally). She may not know this, but it was one simple gesture that meant the most to me. Again, it was dealing with that same family illness that I mentioned with my #2 friend above. After a difficult day, she called me to come downstairs and dropped off bagels and some banana bread that she made for my family member. The reason that this meant so much, was because, she is such a good friend that she even worries about my family. That small gesture, meant more to me than anything. Yes, she is a great friend, yes we laugh a lot, and yes there have been tears too, but sometimes, there is also great comfort in knowing that a friend doesn’t just care about you, but makes your family a priority too. I love her family and she knows all about health issues. Our friendship isn’t a case of misery loves company – more that hard times demand understanding and she provides that to me, in spades.
It’s always an interesting exercise to think about your friends and where they fit into your life. It doesn’t mean one isn’t more important than another – just that they bring something different to the table. This of course doesn’t include my sisters who I value more than I tell them and rely on them more than they will ever know. They are the friends that I was born with and who are stuck with me for life, whether they like it or not. One of the best pieces of advice came from “The Facts of Life” – sue me, I’m a child of the ’80’s – in order to have friends, you have to be a friend. “You Being Beautiful” also had some great words of wisdom:
“The more beautiful you look and feel, the happier you are. And the happier you are, the more beautiful you look and feel and the more you can share with others your purpose in life. And that’s a beautiful thing.”