The Friends I’ve Left Behind



I spent the first 24 years of my life in the same house.  I lived on campus during my first year of college, but I never really considered it home, and after that first year, I became a commuter.  I was never particularly adventurous.

Since then, I’ve moved four times and had seven jobs.  I’ve met a lot of people.  Most of them didn’t leave much of a mark on me.  I met them, maybe laughed with them, learned some things about them, and moved on.  They might give me a passing thought now and then, as I do them, but nothing more.

I sometimes talk about how Facebook and other social media have allowed us to disconnect in some ways, and I still believe that.  But I’ve also been able to connect with other people I’d lost touch with.  I stay connected with childhood friends and family.  Though I may not follow their daily lives, I can see how they’re doing and how they’re children are doing.  It’s a really nice thing that would have been difficult and unlikely in a pre-technology world.

There are a handful of people who’ve been important to me, who I’ve lost contact with for one reason or another.  There was a guy I worked with at Wal-mart, and we didn’t stay in touch when I moved to a different job.  There was a couple who my husband and I hung out with.  We moved out of that area abruptly and during a period of transition, lost touch.  I don’t remember their last names.

I think about them, and others, from time to time and wonder what’s happened to them, how they’re doing, and where they’ve been.  I’d love to reconnect with some of these people, just to know how they’re doing.

When I started moving on, leaving people behind, I didn’t think of it that way.  For the first two decades plus of my life, I’d stayed put, so I didn’t think about the effort it takes to stay connected.

I’m grateful for our connected world, but I’m also aware that real connections take effort.  And if someone is important, they’re worth the effort.  Sometimes people get left behind, and that’s okay too.

I’ve been the person that’s been left behind, and I have to remind myself that people don’t always do it on purpose.  There are a lot of reasons to lose touch with someone.

That’s why it’s so important to really enjoy the people I’m with, be in the moment with them, without cell phones or distractions.  If I lose touch with them, I’ll have had those great moments.  It’s okay to move on, to have different friends or different interests.

None of us stand still.  Or we shouldn’t, if we’re growing.

Have you had an experience of losing touch with a friend and wishing you could reconnect?


IMG_1927I have 9 wonderful distractions in my house.  Nine wonderful distractions who jump in my lap and make nose art on my laptop.  They spill my drinks and have to go out.  And come in.  And go out.  And come in.  Andwhydoyouhavetogooutagain?  Youwerejustout5freakingminutesago!  Writing becomes the fine art of not getting so irritated that I forget where I am.

I love being outside when I’m writing, but if I’m writing in my yard, my dogs are with me, and if my dogs are with me, it’s a really really really good time to play ball or frisbee.  Only they don’t want to bring me the ball or frisbee so I can throw it.  They want to play keep-away with it until I sit back down and start to work.  Then it’s a good time to drop a slimy, sticky ball in my lap.

One of my friends (who is also a writer, check her out at Be Nice And Follow The Rules) mentioned that she goes to Starbucks to get writing done.  I never really thought about doing that, but I realized that at a coffee shop, I don’t have to do dishes or take dogs out to walk.  I won’t be distracted by the bills that need to be paid or think about vacuuming.  When I used to work in Mobile Crisis, we’d sit at a coffee shop sometimes between calls, and I was super productive there.

For those of you who don’t know, I’m moving from Arizona to Austin in the next couple months.  Austin appears to be a wonderful place for indie coffee shops and bookstores, so my hope is to find one that appeals where I can park it for a few hours a week and get some productive writing done.  In the Phoenix area, my favorite coffee shop was Copper Star coffee. It’s a local place with cool local artwork and a laid back feel.  Though it was always busy, there was almost always at least some seating available.

Where’s your favorite place to write or get creative?

Top 10 Reasons To Go Camping

1. FIRE!  As in campfire.  Really, do I even need other reasons?  I love fire, watching fire, and sitting by the fire.  I find it hypnotic and can understand why moths go to their deaths.  Plus, I have a good reason to start a much bigger fire than I’m allowed to start at home.



2.  Junk food.  Marshmallows are part of a balanced breakfast, especially when you have to get creative because you forgot sugar for your coffee.  Not that I’ve ever done that or anything.  I also burned our meal so I had to eat s’mores for dinner.  Bummer.

3.  The night sky.  I love the night sky, but when I’m home, I’m too busy being distracted by my laptop, TV, and phone.  I don’t go outside and look at the stars and think philosophical thoughts, even though I enjoy it.  When you’re camping, that’s the entertainment, folks.  Well, that, the fire, and the animal soundtrack.  (crickets, anyone?)

4.  Sunrise and sunset.  When else are you going to get up early enough to see sunrise or slow down enough to see sunset?  Probably not often, at least not on purpose.  And they’re amazing, especially here in Arizona.

Sunrise, Dead Horse Ranch State Park; Photo Credit: Doree Weller

Sunrise, Dead Horse Ranch State Park; Photo Credit: Doree Weller

5.  Togetherness.  Most people don’t go camping alone.  Putting up the tent, lighting the campfire, cooking… you have to work together to do all these things, and it’s a lot of fun.  At first you think there might be a homicide, but as you go on, you realize that working together is actually pretty fun.  Not to mention all crowding together and sleeping in the same tent.

6.  Breakfast.  Eggs cooked in a cast iron skillet over an open fire are the bomb.  I love eggs, and those were the Best.  Eggs.  Ever.

7.  It’s peaceful.  This is sort of implied in the other stuff I said, but it really is peaceful and relaxing.  I’m a high anxiety sort of person, always doing something and solving someone’s drama.  Camping is a great way to slow down and just take it all in.

8.  It’s a cheap way to get away from home.  Vacations can be expensive, but camping is relatively cheap.  I rented my campsite for $20, but bought food to eat.  I would have had to buy food anyway, right?

Yay, camping!

Yay, camping!

9.  Few distractions.  We weren’t so out in the middle of nowhere that our phones didn’t work, but we shut them off.  No TV or laptops or Facebook or I Can Haz Cheezburger.  Just us and nature.  (And the other campers, but we pretended they weren’t there.)

10.  Dressing down.  I got to appear in some of my oldest clothes in public, didn’t have to shower, and fit in perfectly with the social norm.  Every once in a while, it’s nice to get dirty and just not care.

Boredom as a Path to Creativity

I never really thought of boredom being part of the path to creativity.  I just figured that there was something wrong with me as a writer that when I sit down at my computer, I immediately get distracted.  No matter how excited I was all week to have time to sit down and write, when that time actually comes, I think of all the other things I could be doing.  Not the least of which is surfing the internet, wasting time.  I think there may be something to the whole popcorn brain thing after all.

Mark McGuinness proposes that that boredom is normal and natural, and can be used as part of the creative process instead of being a hinderance.  I didn’t really think of it that way.  I was so busy getting upset with myself that I never thought about using it or forcing myself to ride it out.  Part of the problem is that being at home is distracting, but I hate leaving my house.  So tomorrow, my goal is to sit and write for an hour.  No excuses, no internet surfing.  The dishes will wait.  The dogs don’t actually need to go out right this second.

Wish me luck in my boredom!