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?

Things That Make Me Happy

Flowers!  I love flowers too!

Flowers! I love flowers too!

I’m a firm believer that the best things in life aren’t things, and the happiest people are the people who are happy for stuff other than things.  Things can’t make you happy long term.  Things break, get lost, don’t work as well as they used to, and aren’t the latest and greatest after a minute.  Things are not the key to happiness.  Being grateful for the little stuff is they key to happiness.

What makes me happy, in no particular order:

1.  Thunderstorms- I love the flash bang, and I love the sounds of rain.  One of my best memories is sitting on a porch in a rainstorm with my feet on the railing getting wet, and a laptop on my lap while I wrote a story.

2.  Music- Sometimes it’s Mogwai, sometimes it’s the Beatles or Enya or Tiffany.  But no matter what, I love surrounding myself with music.  I love creating playlists of all the random stuff I like for all different times.  I may not sing well, but that doesn’t mean I don’t know all the words.  Or that I don’t sing them.  Because if I have headphones on, I’m not the one that has to hear it, am I?

3.  My dogs- They’re always happy to see me and give unconditional love.  Without them, who would paint my laptop screen with nose smudges?

4.  Books-  Okay, yes, they’re things, but it’s not the books themselves that make me happy; it’s the stories.  I don’t go buying first edition hardbacks; I actually prefer used books, and if they have personality in the way of marks on pages or even better, something written in them, I’m thrilled.  Nothing I like better than finding a secret treasure in a book.  A receipt, a name, a message… it’s a link to someone else who loved that book too.

5.  My laptop- Another thing, yes.  But I hate hand writing things, primarily because my hands hurt when I write too much (like anything more than a sentence).  So I need my laptop so I can write.  Because I can’t be happy if I don’t tell stories.

6.  Friends- I have a few friends who I consider “lifetime” friends.  I think I’m lucky to have a small group of people who I can be my real self with, and who can be their real selves with me.

7.  Quotes!-  I love quotes!  I have a notebook full of them, and I keep as many of them in my brain as possible.  Maybe some people get sick of me quoting things, that that’s just too bad.  It’s my way of spreading love and joy.

8.  Windchimes and prisms-  Another thing, yes, and two things in fact.  But they go together so well.  I don’t love them because they’re stuff; I love them because they make rainbows and soft noises.  How can you not love things that jingle and make rainbows?

9.  Hiking-  When I was a kid, I used to just go walking in the woods behind my house.  Then I’d just find a clearing, put my back against a tree, and read or write.  These days, I still love walking through someplace that hasn’t been tamed yet.  The desert here in AZ, back to cliffs and forest when I move to TX.

10.  Skating- There’s nothing quite like the feeling of skating.  It’s almost like flying.  For me, in-lines almost feel like an extension of my feet.

The thing is… what makes you happy is up to you.  You can always wish for the newest, latest, greatest, shiniest, brightest, but when the shine fades and it’s not the newest anymore, the happiness wears off.  Happiness doesn’t wear off love or memories.    They may end up tempered with sadness or melancholy, but that doesn’t change what was.

“The best things in life aren’t things.”

— Art Buchwald

Day 13 of 30 days of Gratitude

I’m grateful I don’t hear voices. I know it sounds random, but whenever I work with someone who’s psychotic, I can’t help but think that.

I’m grateful I have family and friends who love me, support me, and don’t judge me.

Most of all I’m grateful that I have a list of people I could call at 2 a.m. if I needed to.

Holding On To A Moment

100_0622None of us stand still, which is both a good thing and a bad thing.  We all have those perfect times, whether they’re a moment, a week, a month, or an event that we’d like to freeze forever and never let go.

I know that for some people, high school or college have their perfect moments, when they felt that all was right with the world.  While I did have some good times, I always felt out of place, as if I was trying to force myself to be something or someone I wasn’t.  I was known for being different, and not caring that I was different, and while that was true, of course there was a part of me that yearned to learn the secret that everyone else seemed to know.  Other people got invited to parties, talked to strangers, and laughed over stuff I didn’t find remotely funny.  I just didn’t get it.

For me, my moments of perfection mostly come in snatches of time.  I’m in my yard, birds are singing, and the air has a sweet hint of growing things.  I’m sitting in front of my laptop, and the writing goes well.  I’m in the bathtub, reading a book, and the water is the perfect temperature.  I’m hanging out with friends at a backyard BBQ, and for a little while, I know that I’m okay to be who I am.

I can’t freeze and hold those moments forever, and I probably wouldn’t appreciate them if I could.  What’s your perfect moment?

Cougar Town

by The TV Guy

Unknown Every so often a minor TV miracle happens. A chance meeting with a show that you found little or no interest in when you caught it first time around. Some shows seem too corny or cliché and you pass them by on principle alone.  Sometimes it’s an actor or actress for whatever reason you find them awful or simply ridiculous. I am not a fan of Courtney Cox, I am not sure why other than her annoying character on Friends which I watched once or twice and scratched my head as to why it was so popular.

So when Cougar Town came along in 2009 I passed it over quickly with a cursory nod of dismissal. When the show made its migration from prime time ABC to the slightly more adult TBS I gave it look and found the show had some redeeming value and decided to set the DVR to catch the new episodes. I realized quickly that I had set the DVR to record all the episodes and began to amass a significant collection of re-runs from the previously dismissed seasons. I can admit when I am wrong and I was wrong about Cougar Town. The show evolved passed its down right stupid title and began to develop a cohesive set of characters and story lines that made for interesting viewing. If you caught the show in season 1 and hated it, check out the subsequent seasons as the writing improved and the show developed a character of its own.

Friday Writing Prompt- Friendship

Friends are interesting… how they’re made, how they continue, and how they end (if they do).

I met my best friend on the first day of first grade.  Another girl slammed her hand in her desk, and I ran over to help.  From that day on, we were pretty much inseparable.  I’m not really sure why.  Back then, she was quiet and I was outgoing, so maybe that’s the why of it.  We didn’t have all that much in common, but we clicked.  I was a jerk in high school, and our friendship almost ended, but she forgave me (eventually) and we just got stronger.  Nowadays, we talk on the phone once a week and occasionally keep in touch via Facebook.  There were years when we didn’t talk on the phone at all, but when we did, it was like we just talked yesterday.

So, for the writing prompt… write about a friendship.  It can be a good one, a bad one, or a learning experience.  It could be a childhood friend or one from adulthood.  How did you (or your character) meet them?  Why did you (or they) become friends instead of acquaintances?  Do you (or they) continue to keep in touch?  Why or why not?  If the friendship ended, what happened?