I have a handful of friends who are always up for things. Skydiving? Sure! Go to a new country because you’re turning 30? Okay! Paint something pretty because Instagram inspired you? Let’s do it!
I’ve met Anita through Bloggers in Sin City last year and in just a year, I’ve learned that she is one of the people in my life who is always willing to say yes to a new adventure, however big or small. It’s such a fortunate coincidence that she lives in Austin too. She recently sent me a Groupon for a splatter Pollock date. Since we both recently have a shared interest in saving for a house, I suggested for a fraction of the cost, we can just have our own painting date. I’ll bring the sheet to protect for paint splatters! She offered to cook a Smitten Kitchen Cookbook dinner because one of her 2013 resolutions is to cook her way through the entire book. And there we have it, a perfect girls night in to brighten a week day.
Most of my close friends don’t live in the same city as me. Through the years of having quarterly phone dates to catch up, I noticed a theme in all the conversations. It can be quite lonely in our age group. Friends move away to pursue careers. Friends get married and all of a sudden common interests shift. There’s hardly any time outside of work and home life especially if you’re also juggling a family or a long commute or both! When I trace back the friendships I cherish to see what was the moment that caused two people to realize they like each other and want to continue seeing each other, most of the time it was someone going out on a limb to invite a near stranger to an outing. It could be as mild as sitting at the same table for lunch at work or as huge as skydiving.
There are these endorphins that release when you do something new and fun. It feels good. And when you’re doing something that feels good with someone, that’s a form of bonding. (Refrain from TWSS jokes. I’m trying to be semi-serious here!) And when you find that you’ve made a new friend and you both like each other, keep doing new things with your friend.
You might even get free homemade desserts.
Question: Tell me about your last great friendship date.
I was 22 years old and had just gotten my heart broken by my first boyfriend of four years. My parents had taken to blowing up my phone because I was MIA for three days. I usually talked to them every day but couldn’t bring myself to talk to anyone. My dad left a voice mail threatening to come up to Austin if I didn’t call him back. Not wanting to deal with hovering parents while I grieved, I reluctantly called them back.
Me: (In between cries and hiccups) Hi. Daddy. We. Broke. Up.
Dad: Is he crying right now?
Dad: Is he crying to his daddy?
Dad: Don’t you cry to your daddy.
Me: Fine but you called me first!
That was our conversation in totality. Note how he didn’t even ask the whys and whens of the split. He didn’t need to know. It was enough that we were over. It was enough that I was crying and my ex was not.
The next day he called to apologize. He told me he was sorry to be so rough with me the day before but he just wanted me to see this break-up as practice. I remember being so perplexed on what he could possibly mean by “practice.”
“You know, when you meet that someone who is perfect for you and get married and have kids and live your life, what do you think will happen?”
I remember being afraid to let him finish this thought but I braced for it anyway.
“He’s going to die!”
My dad had tried to make me feel better about my first break-up by likening it to practice for when my future spouse dies. It’s so awful that the memory of this still makes me laugh 5 years later and this story still gets requested by my friends at gatherings.
Brutality aside, I think I get what he was trying to tell me. We are on borrowed time. Nothing and no one is really ours. Everything and everyone gets given back. A break-up is just one way things get taken from us and at the time, my break-up was just a small introduction to the greater losses life will bring me. No wonder I’m so scared of losing my loved ones. I can’t imagine how unbearable the pain will be when the losses become bigger.
It’s that time of year again! I share with you my personal recap of 2010. This year was much better than 2009 (which was much worse than my 2008). It was a year of recovery and regaining balance. I feel very fondly of 2010 but I’m ready to embrace 2011. Bring it!
A plane crashed into an IRS building here in Austin yesterday morning, killing two people. I just read the pilot’s 6 paged suicide note. I’m really sad for the innocent man who showed up for work and never came home because some sad twisted man could not take rein of his life and own responsibility for his unhappiness.
Yesterday, during my lunch and on my own, I went to the Blanton Museum to see their exhibit on desire, aptly named On Desire.
No photos were allowed at this exhibit but if you’re in Austin, I recommend it. It highlights a great span of desire, touching on heartbreak, confusion, sex, love… I sometimes find art hard to relate to but a lot of the pieces on display in On Desire really touched me and spoke to me. Very.. human.
I’ve always loved the Blanton’s peaceful grandeur.
Lately, I have a lot of mind chatter that is self-deprecating. I’m starting to worry that it’s excessively self-deprecating and I can’t seem to find my way out of it. Yet, anyway. I’m toying with the idea of talking to a counselor. My insurance covers it after a deductible.
This video of a three year old sobbing over Justin Bieber is heartbreakingly CUTE. Such anguish for a little one.
In the last week I finished the first three books of 2010: Fup, The Shack, Bonk, and am almost done with 50th Law. I think it’s amusing that when you read a handful of books all at once, there’s a lag in finishing books but then you start to finish them at the same time. Book reviews to come of all three (four?) books soon.
My mom had my fortune told by this Asian dude who records his take on your life on tape. According to him, per my mom, the funnest years of my life is from age 24-34. She said according to him, I’ll get married and start a family at around 34/35. Interesting. Everything that has happened in my life, my mom claims she already knew was going to happen to me. My dad, a skeptic of fortunes, was gleeful to report that the fortune teller thinks that any degree of charismatic magnetism I possess comes from his side of the family. Ha! My parents crack me up.
I’m most hungry for reassurance right now. Cuddles. Chicken soup. Hugs. Murmurs that everything will pan out. For now, I settle for still wearing Valentine’s day socks and knickers, and chocolate chip cookies.
I saw this tweet from Ryan today and it reminded me of an interaction I had with someone in my life this weekend. This prompted me to share my list of three questions to ask yourself before you ask someone a favor.
How close are you to your friend?
I use the term friend to mean whomever you are asking a favor of. Hopefully you should know better than to rely on an enemy.
If I’m asking a favor of Mary Ellen or another super close friend, I wouldn’t feel out of line if I just jumped right into it and asked for the favor. We are close enough to stay in communication routinely so I hope that she understands that her friendship is valuable to me and I do not see her as just an end to my means. If you’re not close to this friend and haven’t talked to them in a while, please approach with more care and tact. Realize that you’ve neglected this relationship for whatever reason and to not at the very least inquire about his or her life is off putting.
Did you ask for a favor the last time you talked to your friend?
There is someone in my life right now who texted me this weekend. Before even reading her text I knew she needed something and groaned. I think I even put off opening her text message. I came to this accurate prediction because she has developed a consistent pattern of only speaking to me when she needed something. I cannot remember the last time we hung out and caught up on each other’s lives that was not initiated by me. I ended up texting back an avoidance of her favor. It worked out that I was honestly busy and am working both my jobs this week. However, I doubt I’d honor her favor even if I did have the time.
There’s an analogy in Stephen R. Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People that I think is pertinent. View your relationships with people as individual bank accounts. Have you made deposits in the relationships? Cashing in a favor is withdrawing from your bank account. Doing a favor or being a friend is equivalent to depositing. Is your relationship account balanced? Are you overdrawn? Ask yourself this before making your request.
Are you abreast more or less with your friend’s life?
Do you know what’s going on with your friend’s life? Do you know how his work/personal/extracurricular life is going? What did he do over the weekend? If you haven’t the slightest clue what he’s up to in the last 6 months, you probably have no business trying to cash in a favor. Again, if this person has no idea what’s going on with you and the first thing you do is ask if he or she can fix your router or debug your website’s php code, more than likely, you’re watering some of his resentment.