Long Friendships and Hard Goodbyes

It’s a strange thing to be young and have your whole life ahead of you waiting to be lived.  Life is both very short and very long.  It is a conundrum that leaves us feeling lost in our past and scared of our future.

Last week I was sitting on the deck with the people I have been friends with since my freshman year of college.  Which seems like it should have not been as long ago as it was.  We were sitting out there just listening to the rain crash down on the red Oklahoma dirt.  I now understand the phrase, “when it rains it pours,” because in the south when it rains it always pours.

Rain is good thinking weather.  I started thinking about how crazy it was that this might be one of the last times we are all together.  Maybe not the last, but certainly one of the few last times.   We are all growing up and moving on to become doctors, lawyers, and biologists.  At least that is what we will try to be.  Life might redirect us along the way.

Never the less, someday we will be moms and dads.  Some day this moment will be a distant nostalgic memory of the time we spent with friends we haven’t seen in years.

And I wonder, will we stay in contact over the years?  Will we continue to be apart of each others lives?  Or will life slowly pull us away from each other?  What will all of our lives be like in five years?  In ten years?  Will we be married? Parents?  Will we have succeed at becoming doctors, lawyers, and biologists?  Will we remember the nights we stayed up way too late?  Will we remember each other at all?

Of course we will, I think.  Moments and people like these are not easily forgotten. 

I think people come into our lives for a reason.  A deeper reason than  just our human need for relationship.  People are sent in certain times of our lives to teach us and to inspire us.  People are sent into our lives to show us there is someone in us worth believing in, that we have a future that is worth fighting for.

Some people are meant to be in our lives for a long time, maybe even for our whole lives.  I am blessed to have a large group of people who have been in my life for the long haul.  There are always there in my corner pushing me forward, believing in me far more than I deserve.

There are others for that are only meant to be in our lives for just a moment.  Those people should not be easily discounted.   Some times they can be the most influential people we met.  I can’t explain it, only that it seems life only gives us a few moments together so we fill it like a lifetime.

The hard part is when that time expires. When we must say goodbye to someone who has taught us so much. When we must move on because life is moving on.  When we must let someone out of our arms, not sure if they will ever return. 

I use to be scared of goodbyes.  I was scared of getting too close to someone because I knew one day soon they would be gone.  I have learned that hard goodbyes are a good thing, because it shows just how much that person meant to us in the first place.

I plan to live a life full of hard goodbyes, because no matter how hard a goodbye my be, it is still better than never knowing that person.

Friends 2

Photo Credit: Kari Lena

“There is a tide in the affairs of men.
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat,
And we must take the current when it serves,
Or lose our ventures.”

– William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar

Guilty Vacations

I am on vacation this week.  This is the first time in a long time that I had a vacation that didn’t involve something along the lines of building a house in Mexico or going to a conference in Philadelphia.  In fact I didn’t have anything planned for this vacation other than seeing old friends and sitting on a boat.  Then again it is hard to plan much of anything when you are going to Eufaula, Oklahoma.  When I told people where I was going I always got the same response, “What is there to do there?”  Nothing, that is the point.

I am completely awful at doing nothing.  Is it just me?  I feel guilty for doing nothing, especially if I have been doing nothing for more than an hour.  My brain starts to panic, I haven’t been doing anything productive for an hour I am wasting my life away.  Sometimes doing nothing is more stressful for me than being productive.

Yesterday I laid in the sun on the back of a boat for probably close to two hours.  I dozed in and out, and I have never been more content.  It was fabulous.  Who knew that doing nothing could be so much fun?  This morning I sat outside drinking coffee and watching the flash flood.  I know a flash flood in Oklahoma, what is this?

Stress wrecks havoc on us.  It is a silent killer, because we often are not even aware that it is happening.  Once I finally allow myself to rest, I realize just how tired I really am.  I haven’t been doing anything I shouldn’t be this tired.  That isn’t entirely true.  I haven’t been doing anything today but that doesn’t mean my body isn’t exhausted from the last few weeks, months, years.  It reminds me just how much our bodies need to rest. I don’t just mean getting 8 hours of sleep a night.  I mean truly rest.  Like sit on a lake and not think about work type of rest.  It is good for our bodies, it is good for our brains, but most importantly it is good for our souls.

Do nothing and don’t apologize.  

The world can wait for a few hours.  Everything that you need to get done can wait for a few hours today.
Photo Credit: Lori Rensink 

Restlessness and the Pursuit of Happiness

“And how is work going?”

“Work is going good, I really can’t complain.  But . . . I don’t know I have been in kind of rut, it is hard to focus.”  *My mother made some soothing listening nosies* “I’m not sure exactly what is wrong because honestly I have a great job with great bosses, I should be happy with it.”  *more soothing listening noises*

Then finally realizing I would never get there on my own, she chimed in, “You’re restless.”

“Well, I mean I don’t know . . . yeah I suppose you are right.  I’m restless.”

My whole life I have struggled to be content, even in the times when life is relatively good. I didn’t want to live my whole life waiting for the next best thing.  I had to learn to think of life as a journey not a destination.  It wasn’t so much about where I was going in life that mattered but what happened along the way.  It helped with the restlessness because I started seeing life as something to enjoy as is and not as somewhere I needed to get to. I do mean helped.  I am far from cured.

I started spending a lot of time reading and thinking about what it meant to actually enjoy my life no matter where I was or what my circumstances were. Life gets hard and it moves way too fast.  I have been trying to find ways to make the most out of the time I have and the best out of the bad situations.  In my youth and naivety I decided to create a list of things which have helped enjoy my life a little bit more.  I don’t want to saying that this list has made me happy, because happiness is fleeting and not something that can be permanently attained.  But these things have at least made me happier and less restless.

Continue reading