Friends and Family

Monty and Merlin: Best Buds

The holidays are always busy. It’s a time to reconnect with people you’ve lost touch with. It’s a time for family and friends to get together and celebrate their connection. It’s also a time to reflect upon the people in our lives and to cherish those who are gone.

I’ve never considered myself to be the most social person out there. I’m happy with the people I know and when I meet new friends, I prefer to do so in a smaller setting. Attending a party with a hundred people is a bit overwhelming for me. It’s sort of like walking into the Godiva store to choose a single piece of chocolate. I never figured out the grace some people have of sampling little bits from each conversation and building up lots of small friendships, and letting them grow over time.

I see myself as more of a cultivator. I find a person or two and tend to them carefully, enjoying the laughs and events along the way. It can be tricky for me, then, when the relationship changes. It’s a natural part of life. People date other people, they get married, they have kids, they move, they earn a new job, and so on. I’ve always wondered if there was a “right” way to do things and whether I was missing it.

Relationships change. It’s a fact, regardless of the relationship. Friendships swell and ebb as time goes on. Even those connections between the closest people bend and stretch. It doesn’t mean they come to an end, necessarily, or turn into something sad. Sometimes the frenzied start to a friendship settles into a calmer, more natural flow. Other relationships start slowly and develop into wonderful pairings. Others cycle in and out and in again.

Over time, I’ve realized that I do prefer deeper relationships. I enjoy the connections that I’ve built with those around me. Occasionally, time may pass between gatherings, but we can reconnect to talk about the heavy things in life as needed but also we can lift each other with the joyous happenings or even just throw on a hilarious movie and lose ourselves for a while.

There are people in my life I’d love to see more often, to share more adventures and time, to laugh with and light up the night. We all get busy, so it isn’t always possible. Some days, we’re simply just too weary. It doesn’t mean the relationships are faltering. Life sometimes takes its toll. Plus, we all need some alone time too here and there.

As we look ahead to 2016, I am thinking about all the positives in my life and working to give them priority. It is important to also acknowledge the negatives and strive to minimize them, but I don’t want next year to be all about avoidance or reduction. No, I want to look to the brighter azure sky, the gleaming golden sun, and the brilliant white clouds of any shape imaginable. I want to revel in the beauty of the world around me and I want to do so with the people I cherish most.

It feels like a subtle thing, thinking of it this way. There are people who bring me down or who get stuck in my thoughts in an unhelpful way. Rather than dwell on those, I need to shift and direct my energies toward growth instead. Flowers don’t stomp around in the dirt; they reach up toward the light, opening wide and revealing their own inner colors. 

I want to deepen the relationships I have now. I also want to meet some new friends. Life gets serious enough when things just go wrong. So the rest of the time, I want to relax and laugh and enjoy the moment. I may need to adjust how I see relationships in order to have that freer sense. I need to allow for others to be busy and not fear losing them. I need to remember that we are on this journey together and where the road goes, there are many things to see along the way. Some may venture down different paths, and that is okay too.

This doesn’t mean I won’t still work at cultivating my relationships. But maybe sometimes they need to grow on their own a little too. It’s a different concept for me, because I’ve always felt that if I wasn’t ever-present then everything would wither away. Friends and family may have come to know me this way and so a change in how I behave may be startling and confusing. But in order to grow I need to spend a little more time in the sunlight without my fingers always fussing with the soil. 

It’s time for me to grow a bit too.

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