Tag Archives: friendship

Rites of Passage and the Ones that Matter

So as this day comes to a close, and I am hours past my normal posting time, I am thinking about today.

Today I got the chance to grab coffee with an old friend.  She is one of my closest friends, one of my sisters, although we only see each other a handful of times during the year.  I had the feeling that something we talked about would be my post tonight.

M and I bond over our womanhood, our budding careers (which are truly in the buds still, waiting to bloom– her in law school, me pursusing my PhD).  We talk about family, school, relationships.

Two things that surfaced tonight, however, made me feel strong.

First, we talked about our mutual friends– we are a little group of 5 or 6 girls.  We are all doing things and going places.  Some of us are spending our early 20s advancing our education, others are flourishing in their personal lives– growing blossoming families or laying the foundation for such beauty.  We talk about this quite a bit.

I think I’ve written about this before– my little group– we run the span of being single to dating around to having a boyfriend to being engaged to married-with-second-baby-on-the-way.  While I hope that eventually we all find that “special someone” who we want to spend our life with, there is something beautiful about the fact that we are all so different at this moment– all in a different place and transition in our lives.  Our path diverged when we graduated almost 8 years ago, but we have stayed friends and supported each other through every phase.  There is something strong and beautiful about that for me– this amazing little community of women I’ve come to consider sisters.

And then there’s M– who for one reason or another had a falling out with one of our other girls shortly after graduation.  She told me tonight that she felt that things had healed between her and the other girl.  She said that the warm feelings she had, and the time they had been friends, outweighed whatever time they’d spent in disagreement.  And she said it was seeing the other girl with her new fiance that really changed things.  It was a reminder that we’re all doing big things– and taking big steps– and M said she couldn’t imagine not being a part of that.  I can’t help but agree.  We’re at that age when rites of passage are coming up fast and furious.  The people you want around for those moments– and the people whose moments you’d like to be included in– are the ones who matter.  Fix things with those people when they’re broken.  And the others– well– the rest aren’t worth worrying about.

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The R-word.

An innocent question this weekend (ie, “what are your plans for today?”) brought on a full-on rant to an unsuspecting friend of mine.  As this is a creative blog, I try not to blog about my personal life here… but there’s also some necessity when personal thoughts begin “blocking” your creative flow.  For more on this, I strongly recommend The Artist’s Way.  Seriously, at least check out the book from your local library.  It’s worth it to try even if you don’t finish it.  I return to this book, and its ideas, pretty often when I reach a turning point or plateau.  Or when parts of my life obviously start feeling a bit stale or “bleh.”

I bring this up because, in the book, Cameron instructs readers to write “morning pages.”  The idea is that by hand-writing three stream-of-consciousness pages first thing each day, you get all the “blech” and “yech” thoughts out.

She describes it this way:
“All that angry, whiny, petty stuff that you write down in the morning stands between you and your creativity.  Worrying about the job, the laundry, the funny knock in the car, the weird look in your lover’s eye– this stuff eddies through our subconscious and muddies our days.” (page 11, The Artist’s Way)

I had a moment like this when my friend asked that question and got a rant-of-sorts about the people I hold dearest.  And, as I apologized for said semi-rant, I heard myself say, “I didn’t know that was upsetting me…”

Because, in truth, I’m not upset with my friends.  But I am adjusting to the changes we’re experiencing.  It is the hard thing about having good, dear, old friends.  Life keeps happening.  And we are not in grade school anymore to see each other every day and witness the changes.  The changes often come now via text message or random phone call.  Announcing engagements, jobs, grad school acceptances, babies, and moving days to places far enough away to warrant airline tickets– or passports.

I have five friends who I would say are my closest.  Of the six of us (myself included), we now stand on a relational continuum:

Married (2 years, with 1 year old daughter)
Engaged
Serious Relationship
Relationship (unofficial):not-sure-where-this-is-going-but-hopeful
Single:getting-over-someone-waiting-for-really-good-guy
Single:I-don’t-wanna-talk-about-it

Now, those last three (again, myself included) were hard to write, mostly because I wish them to not be taken the wrong way.  I’ll put in the disclaimer that I have been in both of these places and love these girls as sisters.

I am not bitter or jealous.  I am thrilled and contented (and occasionally temporarily worried) by each new announcement.  When you truly love someone, their victories feel like your own.  However, there is a give-and-take in all of this.  Buying your closest girlfriend a toaster.  Learning to talk to her as though she were a couple– because the amount of one-on-one time you have has significantly decreased.  Learning that friendships survive in balance; and that you do still need to find alone time to talk.  The challenge of finding that time that is not taken up by jobs, significant others, children, parents, chores.  And, in the midst of your changing lives, finding out what common ground you still share.  What you can still commiserate– and laugh about– together.

newly in college or heading off-to-college

First Wedding

First Baby's First Christmas


my graduation party, and our expanding circle of friendship

Our lives are clogged with relationships.
My coming challenge:  to (wo)man up and put in the effort mine need to continue to blossom.  And to create using this love, rather than letting the changes in my life keep me blocked, ineffective, and irritable.


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