Have you ever reached a point in your life when you can’t find any of your friends? It’s like no one has time for hanging out anymore. They’re just too damn busy!
Recently, it seems all of my friends have disappeared – job change, new relationship, marriage, moving away…who’s left? I don’t even feel comfortable reaching out to ask anymore because I already know the answer and I don’t want to hear it.
It hasn’t always been that way. We used to go and do things every week. Now it’s summer and they go to concerts with their partners. They have dinners on patios, hold hands, bike and walk the trails around town. They’re going out…I’m not.
Of course, this is my imagination working overtime.
I actually have very little idea about what they’re doing. They could be fighting and having a terrible time for all I know, but that’s not where my mind goes. My mind goes to all the good things. Like every time I hear live music playing around town, I get a little pang of jealousy and sadness for all I think I’m missing. I love live music and there’s nothing like sitting with someone you adore, listening to the sweet sounds of summer!
It’s honestly hard to admit because I want to be strong and brave. I want to pretend it doesn’t bother me. But it’s been a tough year in that I’ve sort of lost several friends. They’re not gone…they’re just too busy and that leaves me with fewer options when I want to have some fun or simply just connect, talk, etc.. All of that triggers my “not good enough” story and I have to work hard not to get caught up in that.
So I guess that’s why I’m writing today; I’m searching for another story…a better one.
Last night I was reading Guy Finley’s The Courage to Be Free and I had a real a-ha moment from his words. He suggests that when things change on us, we often feel a bit betrayed and resentment follows. He says, “isn’t this just what small children feel when a caring parent says it’s time to replace something they love with something new that they’ll grow to love even more? Time to toss out that stick pony [so you can] learn to ride a real horse! The child may feel like a victim, betrayed in some way. But the parent knows the child is being handed the keys to a whole new level of life that he or she can’t even imagine.”
Yes, there have been moments when I’ve felt and acted like a child who’s been duped in some way. As my girlfriends move on in their lives, I feel left behind, forgotten. Finley goes on to say that the “same principle holds true for all of us when it comes to our moments of loss. Whenever unwanted situations come along–stripping us of some beloved attachment–it is the operation of one world acting upon another,” the familiar duking it out with the unknown.
I’ve been stuck, wondering where everyone has gone and not going anywhere myself. It’s as if I’ve grounded myself, mourning the familiar at the expense of learning and growing. I think we all do it sometimes. But there comes a point when we have to recognize that we’re holding ourselves back so we can let go and find freedom again.
After reading Finley’s words, I realized it was time to give up my “stick pony.” I made a commitment to go out on my own twice a week and find some new friends. Saturday I went to 8 Seconds Saloon, a country music dance hall where they have line-dancing and live music. You don’t need a partner for line-dancing! It was a slow night because of the Indy 500 race, but still, I had fun and met some new people. I took this bathroom selfie, not something I would normally do, but look at the stall doors!! I couldn’t resist. Monday, Memorial Day, I went to a movie on my own.
Next weekend, I’ll be attending a music festival in Ohio. I’ll be with my father, two brothers, their families, and an uncle. Without a constant partner/spouse/boyfriend, I’ve learned to create better relationships with my family members, to value them more. When I was married, they remained peripheral people in my life because I had someone else who would do all the work of loving and caring for me…until I didn’t.
To be clear, I’m not simply ditching my old friends for new ones. But the reality is people come and go from our lives. Even our family members can move away, or dare I say it, pass away. We’d like to believe that we can keep them forever, but things change. People change, circumstances change and we change. We have to let go of the way things were so we can appreciate the way things are and reach forward for the new.
I’m reaching. Believe me, I’m reaching.