What’s truly dear to your heart?
We get so bombarded with so much STUFF….so many messages…so many gadgets and apps and channels and offers and more until we often can’t remember what really truly matters to us. Much less who matters most to us.
I am inclined to think that many of us baby boomers never really know what our short list is, because we’re never really put to the test. We never have to consider what it would be like not to have that person in our lives. We grow up, we go to work, we might go off to school but then many of us come back and resume things. Same surroundings. Pretty much the same social circle.
It all gets comfortable. Easy. Our world stays pretty steady.
Until a disease comes along, and a few of those people you thought would show up don’t. Or divorce comes along, and those people who used to sit down the pew from you now look at you differently. Or your lose your job, and you can’t do that regular monthly dinner out and no one calls the other three weeks.It’s interesting to really learn not only who and what matters most to you, but who you matter most to. (Bad English maybe, but you get it.) It’s scary. Yet maybe it’s incredibly freeing as well.
I never understood how I could go to another job, maybe just a few miles away, and my “friends” from my previous job just dropped me. Having moved a few times as a child to different schools in different states, I learned how friendship is something that shouldn’t depend on geography. Yet as an adult, it seems there are those who don’t feel that way.
Then I moved across the country. Having so many miles between me and my previous life really was instructive in terms of who I missed most, and who missed me enough to stay in contact. I had an even deeper appreciation of their friendship and love because I felt it as well. I could also look back at my former city and love the good parts about it. Taking a big step out of your comfort zone definitely changes you, forces you to grow in ways you can’t otherwise, and in some ways, simplifies a lot of things.
I’ve been told when you make a major life change, you often bring up other people’s fears. They don’t want you to do it because it changes things. Maybe it makes them consider if they are happy. Maybe it tests their relationships. I don’t know.
But then my life got a little stranger. I moved again, back to my old home grounds. (Economics, family, etc…kind of like hitting the re-set button for a few years, then we’ll see where I land.) But I came back thinking I could reconnect with a few of the people who I had considered friends before. What happened was and is surprising.
My true, live-in-my-heart friends, were glad I was back and we have picked up where we left off, which makes me eternally grateful because I never let go of them and they did not let go of me even when I was very far away.
But a few others…people I used to work with, or hang out with, or in many cases treat to an occasional lunch or dinner when they were down a bit…they have been a no-show. A few don’t even answer emails or voice messages. My late mother would probably say well maybe they never were my friends anyway. But it didn’t feel that way.
I’ve checked my breath and personal hygiene. That’s not it either.
Times change. People change. Maybe Mother was right.
What has been fascinating is doing all this full-circle. Being in one place for many years, moving to a new place for a decade, then moving back…and seeing what is still true, what never was true, and how you have to always find your own bliss, own peace of mind, and own strength.
I’ve never been the type of person who needs to be surrounded by a lot of people. I don’t have 300 “friends” on Facebook (no judgment if you do, it’s just not me). I’m very okay with solitary moments and I can dine, see a movie or travel solo without missing a beat. I feel more fulfilled in nature than in any other situation, and if you’re going to blast music while walking down a mountain trail, please go on ahead of me so I don’t have to hear it.
And maybe those of us who actually step past the safety zone…who take risks and do things other deem as scary…without a net…who follow their inner voice and are willing to feel the fear, loneliness and confusion that can come with that…maybe we actually do have more strength.
And maybe in the long run, our rewards are greater.
Not more money. Not the coolest people at our table. Not necessarily the smoothest road.
But the one that takes us inward, where our real treasures lie.
So if you’re considering going forward, or going back, take care.
Grab a snack.
Stick to the trail.
Cause it’s not easy…but it’s also not near as hard as never taking that step.
“Pursue some path, rather narrow or crooked, in which you can walk with love and reverence.”
Henry David Thoreau