Monday, October 23, 2017

October Reset: Friendship

I put off writing this October Reset post because it made me nervous.  Friendship is a sensitive and difficult subject for me.  I am not really good at friendship, yet I crave it like water.  I am motivated most by relationship, but I'm terrified of others coming face-to-face with my flaws and insane quirks.  So, a friendship reset is something I've needed to do for years, but it seems so deeply rutted that I'm overwhelmed at where to start. 

First things first I guess.  I love deep meaningful relationships where loyalty and authenticity are mandatory.  As a kid and through adolescence I usually felt deeper (or at least more loyal) about my friendships than the friends did.  I was always a bit of a know-it-all which meant not really a barrel of laughs, but got a lot of people asking me for advice.  And truth be told, who doesn't like being asked for their 'expert' advice, right?  But when the crisis was over, most would move on to their regular friends.  Before you think I'm throwing a pity party or something, understand that I have been blessed with some amazing people in my life where I've spent some amazing weekends of fun with. 

I seem to remember a crazy weekend with some beautiful Bradford girls that involved way too many accidents and emergencies, but made for some great laughs and stories.  Whenever the subject of no friends would come up, my mom would always advise us to look for others who needed a friend.  I remember a couple of sweet Tidmore girls recently back from living in Honduras for a few years that became fast friends at first because we all didn't really know anyone.  Teenage years into my twenties brought some really great people close to home that were the building blocks to so many adventures - Melissa, Annette, Darcy, Olivia, Brandi, Andrea, Jessica, Afton, Stephanie and I could just keep going.  

So, yes I was blessed with friends, but friendship is complicated and then adulthood starts happening.  People get real jobs, get married, children take over and before you know it, an introverted, easily-overwhelmed girl who was always scared to really put herself out there first anyway, finds herself drifting farther and farther away from true friendships.  Why? Because life for one thing.  If you don't see each other on a weekly basis, then staying in touch requires more.  If your timelines in life (if you marry, age of your kids, values, etc.) don't align, it requires even more commitment.  And then there is me:  All of that plus my life and kids taking up a lot of the limited free space in my brain.  I go to bed longing to be closer to people - to be invited or included in things, but figuring a random text message at 11:00 probably won't be welcome or bring me that much closer to them.

The snowball of drifting away from friendships is sometimes impossible to avoid.  When you have a baby (and then two and then three), your life has to change.  For better and worse, you have a new job in guiding that little soul.  Your priorities have to shift.  And that's a lot of what has happened to me.  I take my job seriously as a mom and before I knew it friends were changing.  And then I want to do friendship perfectly or effortlessly - both of which never happens.  So I tend to give up before I try because it can't be either.  Thus, arms length or whenever its easy, which can be really unfulfilling. 

So, a friendship reset for me involves starting over from this new normal.  This new normal has 3 children, awkward introductions, 40 lbs of baby weight to lose, and a mountain of things to be grateful for.  My desire for friendship to be perfect or easy always required me to be the perfect friend.  If I was thinner, if I was funnier, if I was more stylish, if I was a million other things, then maybe friendship would be easier.  The first reset truth is that friendship requires work and maintenance, things I've resisted in so many areas of my life over the years.   The second truth is that I'm not perfect and neither is anyone else that I might be friends with.  I have to be okay with both of those things.

This month has really turned a corner in my heart with recovery from the really rough first half of this year and my little racecar's first 6 months.  I'm feeling more hopeful and joyful than I have in several months.  Ladies, motherhood makes so many other things in life hard.  Now may not be the right season for seeking friendship beyond what is already available to you.  That's a reality that we must accept sometimes.  I've been a lousy friend on multiple occasions - and knew it - but just never seem to have enough energy or brain power to fix it.  Now my season of life, especially with the racecar being our last planned pregnancy, is shifting.  I'm not exactly declaring I'll be everyone's best friend in 30 days or less, but I am committing to the pursuit of real, deeper friendship.  You might not be in the right place for this kind of reset right now, but tuck it away for another day when the time is right.  Isolation and arms length is just not how we were designed to live.  

If you find yourself in the presence of an awkward exchange or a nervous invitation from me or anyone else, try to have mercy on us.  Even if we aren't your forever friend, you might be just the practice we're needing to not give up!
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