True Friends Came Late In Life
There’s nothing like forced isolation to make you realize how important it is to have, not just friends, but close friends. When you don’t have the option of going out to your usual haunts to hang with friends, sharing a mutually loved activity like dancing, life becomes an endless slog from one faceless day to the next without people to talk to via phone, text, Zoom, or Facetime.
You need people who understand your weird sense of humor, recognize when you’re not your normal, perky self, and can ask the tough questions without judgement or expectations. But if you’d told me this 20 years ago; even 15, I’d probably have argued it was true for some people, but not for me. Was I ever wrong!
Leave out the part about friends giving me things to write about (which they do quite often). Without my friends, I’d be spending a lot more sleepless nights, my yard would be more of a jungle than it is right now, I’d be at least 10 pounds heavier, and I might even be so depressed I’d be at a loss for reasons to get up in the morning. The good news is, none of those things are true.
The Give and Take of Real Friendship
Sure, my yard will require a lot more work before it looks decent again, much less until it’s ready to plant vegetables and herbs. But because of friends, I not only have tools to make the job easier, but someone who is more than happy to get out of the house and do a little mowing fairly often. The dandelions cringe when they hear the mower firing up, as they know it’s time to have their little heads shorn yet again.
My friends also give me a mirror in which to see areas in myself that still need work. They allow me to help them, even if all I do is listen. It’s hard enough for me to accept help, but if I didn’t have opportunities to give back, you can be sure I’d refuse all offerings. Thankfully, I’ve finally learned, if not to ask, at least to accept help gracefully. I know right now, everyone needs to do some giving, if only to break up days that allow boredom to raise its ugly head if the monotony isn’t broken somehow, even if it involves physical labor.
Not that physical labor is a bad thing with dance halls, gyms, and hiking trails closed for the time being. The first couple of weeks, my body ached in all the wrong places because I spent too much time sitting on my butt in front of the computer or TV. My friends have helped me get out from in front of the computer, and turn the TV on only late at night, and then, mostly for noise and kitty cuddles.
Cultivating Friendships While Socially Distancing
They’ve given me dance nights, evenings on the porch having socially distanced conversations, hilarious Facetime conversations, and more. I’m learning to enjoy yard work, and heaven knows, it’s been years since I picked up a rake or a cultivator. (I think that’s what the 3-pronged thingamjig is called.) I’m delighting in the sight, smell, and feel of good, rich soil in my garden-gloved fingers.
Many nights, I don’t have to eat dinner alone in front of the TV as I have a friend to sit with, even if we have to bundle up a bit against the still-chilly evenings. Speaking of which, I’m getting a lot more fresh air than I used to too. I’m finding a lot more reasons to get outside, even if I’ve stopped walking while there are too many people out and about for my liking. I’ve acquired a new appreciation for my large yard, and the fact that my house was built at a time when land in this area was cheap, and builders saw no reason not to give homeowners a nice plot of land.
My friends keep me humble, and let me laugh at my own foibles. We have our inside jokes, and often laugh like loons over the same ones. They also help me see my own value which I’m wont to underestimate, or even disparage when left to my own devices. They build me up when I need a lift, or take me out of myself to do the same for them. Life may not be perfect, but it’s a lot closer to it, knowing I’m never alone.
No Longer Walking Through Life Alone
Knowing someone has your back, and will check on you if you’re out of touch for too long is a new, but heady experience for me. I know it seems odd for someone to learn so late in life the value of friendship. But the person I was raised to be, and who never questioned what I’d been taught in some areas wasn’t big on connecting with people. She didn’t feel comfortable letting anyone see her soft, mushy insides. She hid it all behind a thick crust; a wall that by her mid-40’s had achieved epic proportions.
What I didn’t realize then was it was mostly a facade, and one with a network of fine cracks to boot. It didn’t take much of an effort on my part to send it crashing down, though I learned the hard way I didn’t have a stable foundation to build on once I’d removed the vaguely protective layer. I was basically a newborn chick whose feathers were still wet, but I lacked the safety and security of a mama to protect me.
Looking back, it was a stepping stone I needed to tread, and it taught me not only to let people in, but how to be and have friends. There are moments I wish I’d learned the lesson sooner as it would have made my life and its many traumas a whole lot easier. Then I come to my senses and realize all those pieces; all the traumas I lived through alone; all the struggles I endured are what make me value and appreciate my friendships today. I never got the chance to take them for granted, and I don’t think I ever will. What I experienced was necessary, and wishing it were different won’t change that. So I push aside thoughts of what might have been and simply bask in the glow of something that, for me, is new, different, and makes me infinitely greater than I am alone.
Finding an Endless List of Reasons to be Grateful
My gratitudes today are:
- I’m grateful for the people who accept me as I am and allow me to call them “friend”.
- I’m grateful for the lessons I’ve learned, and the roads I had to travel alone to get where I am now.
- I’m grateful for broken, twisted roads.
- I’m grateful for sunshine, rainbows, storms, and clouds. All of one thing would get boring, and I’d become complacent. Variety keeps me on my toes.
- I’m grateful for abundance; friendship, love, joy, commitment, compassion, kindness, health, companionship, hope, health, peace, harmony, balance, philanthropy, and prosperity.
Love and Light
About the Author
Sheri Conaway is a Holistic Ghostwriter, and an advocate for cats and mental health. Sheri believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. Her mission is to Make Vulnerable Beautiful and help entrepreneurs touch the souls of their readers and clients so they can increase their impact and their income. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author or in her new group, Putting Your Whole Heart Forward