Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Time Well Spent

Ok, I'm back.

I apologize for being a crappy blogger but believe it or not, I don't always have something to say.  And even when I do, I'm getting old enough where I don't see anything good about saying it, so I choose to just be silent.

Pretty sure my mom just had a heart attack as she read that. haha

But seriously, I try to check and see what the daily blog challenge is every day and some times I feel less than inspired.  Lots of things have been happening in my world lately but frankly nothing that I want to write about.  And I'd rather not force my blog posts so I've just been quiet.  It's a new concept for me, but I kind of like it.

I do want to revisit an older topic of conversation though.  One that we discussed a while back.  I believe the title to the post was something like Electrocuted to Unplugged.  The theme was about how connected we are to technology.

I've recently made some changes in my life.  Some major, some not so major, at least in my way of thinking, but the....backlash I have seen from it has definitely given me pause to reevaluate a lot of things in my life, and for this I am thankful.

One of the things I did was purge my Facebook account.  I purged it of all the people who I just don't know well.  For many people Facebook is about having as many "friends" as possible.  Adding everyone that you could possibly know on the planet but I feel like this gives a very false sense of security in the idea of what a "friend" is.  I was discussing this with one of my good friends and she said that the most disconnected she has ever felt in her life is when her friendships were reduced to comments and messages on Facebook.  I have to agree.  So when I purged my account, I didn't delete people based on whether or not I liked them or if they had ever offended me, I simply deleted people who I didn't consider friends.  Like REAL LIFE friends.

To me a friend can come in a couple different forms and then there are acquaintances.  For example.  I have my close friends....people that I talk to almost daily.  I know what is going on in their lives and they know what is going on in mine.  We are involved with each other and our bonds are what help us get through the day to day struggles of life.

Then there are friendships that span across time and distance.  I have a quite a few friends, people that I knew years ago who I now rarely get to talk to.  For example, one such girl is married to a Marine.  She is moving constantly as is the way in a military family and she has a daughter now.  She is super busy with her own day to day life but every time we talk or when I get to see her, it's like we never missed a beat.  I have another friend that I get to see and talk to even less often, but the way she touched my life when we worked together, I'll never forget.  I'm not sure I have ever met a person with a purer heart or a gentler soul.  She is now a fashion designer in New York and married.  I don't get to talk to her often, but the way she lived her life every day when I knew her inspires me to this day.  I will always hold her in the highest esteem.  I have another friend who moved back to the DFW area who I've always respected.  He's literally one of the nicest people I've ever met and despite his joking he has one of the most tender hearts.

And then there's every one else.

Now the way I defined these things above have been slightly tweaked recently.  I've always had this problem, and my mom will agree, it is a problem, where I devote myself to too many things at once.  And people are no exception.  For a decent part of my younger life I was kind of treated like crap by lots of people.  I was mercilessly teased in elementary and middle school.  I remember coming home crying, a lot, and I remember my mother, in all of her gentle strength, teaching me lessons on how to stand on my own two feet.  How to not let the thoughts of others to affect what I thought of myself.  Then teenage years hit and I kind of forgot some of these is the way of youth.  But then I had a father who stood by my mother and taught me those lessons all over again.  He taught me how to look at the big picture, how to look at the long run.  He taught me how to look beyond the moment, beyond the hurt feelings, beyond the things that seemed so epically important now on to what would be important later.  And then he taught me how to prepare myself for the good things to come.  He taught me how to take comfort in the knowledge that despite how circumstances now were less than could be desired, my struggles and my actions now, my preparations now would pay off in the end in a way that was far better than any ideal circumstances I could imagine for today.

My father said something to me this summer that struck me so strongly I wrote it down on  a receipt in my car while I was driving and managed to keep up with it despite moving.  I have since put it on a coffee cup so I can be reminded of it every morning.

Boldness comes from preparation.  The risk is insignificant.  

But it's completely true.  Every single decision we make today will affect our lives later.  Well because of what I felt was a lack of friendships as a younger child, I strove to make up for that in my adult life by having as many friends as possible.  But in my goal to have lots of friends, I ended up lowering my standards for what a friend should be.  I got better about it over the years. I got better about identifying certain people as friends and others as acquaintances.  But I still never really sat down with myself and considered what I thought a "friend" was supposed to be.  What kind of friend I wanted and what kind of friend I wanted to be.

I grew up, I moved on and I found myself in the company of a lot of really good people.  People I respect and admire.  People who have good things going for them.  People who are moving and grooving in life and trying to accomplish good things for themselves and their families.  So naturally I was drawn to these people.  I spent so much of my younger life surrounded by people who simply didn't give a shit about themselves much less anyone else (for example in school) that I relished at the chance to be friends with people and surround myself with people who were motivated, who had goals, who were doing things and going places.  Going good places.

Now of course I had the example of what I needed at home, as I described above.  But youth and wisdom rarely go hand in hand.  And while I am special...I'm not that special.

The mistake I made was thinking that just because you respect and admire someone means you're automatically friends with them.  Hang in there with me, I'm not saying this in a down-hearted way nor am I trying to be a pessimist.  There is a positive here.  There's nothing wrong with knowing people are good people and looking up to certain things they do in their lives.  That doesn't mean that I have to devote all of the time or energy into them (as I should do for my friends).  Because ultimately that's more people than I have time or energy for.  And ultimately, those people don't have the time or energy to give back to me either.  Nothing wrong or negative about it, it's just the way of life.  I can't be there for everyone in the way I would like to be and everyone can't be there for me the way I think they should be.  Part of being an adult and growing up is realizing that and letting things go.

So I've started downsizing my life.  Not in an effort to exclude anyone or cut myself off.  I'm still only a phone call away.  I'm just not going to wait for the phone to ring any more.  But I believe that friendships, real friendships, are worth the work and effort.  I know that being my friend isn't always easy...ask anyone who's ever helped me move.  I'm a true extrovert, so I need things from my friends.  I need pats on the back and words of encouragement.  I need that "atta girl! We're proud of you."  But for everything that I need from a friend I'm 100% willing to give it back and I have and I will continue to do so.

So when I look at the quantity of "friends" I have, I can do the math and see that I just don't have enough to give to them all what they should deserve as a friend, and they are all stretched just as thin as I am, so they don't have enough to give either.  Not to everyone anyways.  So I've started sliming down who I give to when it comes to the quantity and quality of my time, just as they have all done.  Of course there are emergencies and I'm always good for those.  I believe in good people helping other good people every day.  That's what makes this world go around.  But we don't have to all live under the illusion that we are best friends.  And that's ok.

It's OK to not be best friends with everyone.  And I'm not saying this to lecture...I'm saying this to myself!  This blog is about the lessons in life I've learned and how they guide me down this path.  So I'm learning, and I'm sharing.

Thanks for hanging in there with me.

 - Scarlett


  1. Love it all. Thank you for reading my mind. However, I haven't managed the FB cull yet because I'm afraid of offending some people who's friendship requests I accepted; it somehow feels like once they were worthy and now they're not. So I'm in awe of your bravery.

    1. Well you are damned if you do and damned if you don't. One of the things I was faulted with was not warning anyone. Apparently I should have put up a post ahead of time that said something to the effect of....hey, I'm about to cull my facebook and it's nothing personal...I just don't feel terribly connected to a lot of you so I'm going to trim the fat." But seriously what good would that have done. Then people would be offended that I didn't feel close to them? People will be offended because most people are looking for a way to feel offended. The best thing you can do is be you and if people are down with that, cool. If they're not, that's not your problem. There are more valuable ways you could spend your time and energy. Be Brave.