I hope you dance

I’ve been thinking a lot about friendships lately.

I don’t have too many local girlfriends I can call up and say “Hey, let’s go out.” I have family nearby, neighbors, and some friends I’ve made through my current and previous employers. I’m not friend-less, by any means. We just all have lives and responsibilities and schedules, and it isn’t always easy to get together without proper planning.

Yesterday I was thinking about a particular friend and how I might reach out to her and see if she wants to go to dinner or lunch to catch up, then I remembered how the last few times I reached out to her, she left me hanging. I decided that I didn’t really want to do that again. Relationships take work from both people, you know? My time is just as valuable as anyone else’s time. It got me thinking of a few other friends who I’ve had similar experiences with recently.

I can appreciate that people have loaded schedules, lord knows I do most of the time. Juggling patients, graduate school, a thesis, internship, doctors’ appointments, coaching, and writing doesn’t leave much time for personal and family time, let alone a social life and leisure. I do what I can to try not to leave people hanging, but I’m sure I have a time or two.

Isn’t it just weird and a little sad to think about how time passes and people who were once significant parts of your life, in one way or another, sort of fade away?

It’s been almost a year since our fur-baby Daisy passed away. I was in such a dark place after we lost her; so incredibly sad. I felt like an actual piece of my heart was missing, she’d had that significant a role in my life. I was having a bad day about a month after she passed and wrote about it here. I was venting. Sad, upset, and frustrated with life and all the crap Brad and I had been dealt over the years. I wasn’t sharing for sympathy or anything like that. I was just being real and getting it all off my chest. After that post went live, a friend of mine from high school reached out to say she’d seen my post and was sending me a hug. It was such a nice gesture, something that probably took a minute of her time, and something I will probably remember for the rest of my life.

Gestures like that are priceless.

She and I don’t talk often at all and it’s been years since we’ve seen each other, a couple decades probably. But she saw I was sad and she sent me a hug. How cool is that? Isn’t that what we all should do? Not just comment on someone’s public post, but send them a message to let them know we’re really thinking about them? This friend doesn’t just share posts about mental health checks for friends, she actually does it. #friendshipgoals

Some people come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.

Author Unknown.

It’s hard coming to grips with the fact that some of the friendships I had in the past — ones I’ve treasured and are part of so many fond memories — may have reached their expiration dates. Our reason or season has ended, and as much as it may stink, I guess it’s okay. Moving on and growing is part of life, right? Constant motion. I’ll probably still see them on Facebook, but our days of personal check-ins have come and gone. Maybe our paths will cross again in the future — I’d like that — but I think it’s healthy to let go and make space for new friendships.

To all my old friends, I hope you dance.

I hope you never lose your sense of wonder
You get your fill to eat but always keep that hunger
May you never take one single breath for granted
God forbid love ever leave you empty handed
I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens
Promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance

I hope you dance

I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance
Never settle for the path of least resistance
Livin’ might mean takin’ chances, but they’re worth takin’
Lovin’ might be a mistake, but it’s worth makin’
Don’t let some Hellbent heart leave you bitter
When you come close to sellin’ out, reconsider
Give the heavens above more than just a passing glance
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance

I hope you dance

Lee Ann Womack

Experiences, not things

Since Brad and I have been married, every year we’ve made a photo book out of our digital pictures through Shutterfly. While I was going through our 2019 photos, I noticed how much we did. We had so many new experiences throughout the year. I feel like every year we do a little bit more and I love it.

One of my reflections is to enjoy experiences, not things. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll still be collecting mugs, shot glasses, and other kitschy stuff. I just want to see more, to do more.

Brad and I have been talking about that a lot lately. We only get one life, you know? We can do the same stuff we always do, or we can experience new things. In 2019 we went to concerts, visited new places, painted, went to a hockey game, and spent time at the beach. We spent time with friends and family, doing new things in old places, like renting a cabana at the pool while on vacation. Tonight, we’re going to one of the local bowling alleys for a New Year’s Eve party. We’ve never gone out-out on New Year’s Eve before.

A while ago, I had a conversation with one of my sisters about stuff. I have my grandmother’s china and I hid it away in the cabinet because I didn’t want to damage it. She told me to use it. I have a bottle of wine I got at a vineyard in Sonoma Valley, California. She told me to drink it.

She’s absolutely right (and that’s not something I’d openly admit to, haha). What am I saving that stuff for? Plates are meant to hold food and wine is meant to be drunk. Drank? Drinked? I’m still sober, I promise. I’m just not good at grammar.

Things are cool. I’m not gonna lie. But why have stuff and not enjoy it? Open that bottle of wine and drink it with friends. Instead of staring adoringly at the bottle on your shelf, remember fondly the memories you made with people you love while you drank that wine.

Back to the cabana at the pool…we go to the same resort every year and we love it. We always have a great time with family. Out of all our vacations there, the time we recall and enjoyed the most was when we rented that cabana. It was something we’d always wanted to do and it was new and different. We had such a fun time, acting like royalty for a day. It was nothing epic, it was a small way we could enhance our experience and it certainly did.

It’s the little things, you know? We got a park pass this year and went to the beach and the Festival of Lights. We traveled to New York, North Carolina, Florida, and West Virginia. Man, seeing the beautiful mountains in and on our way to West Virginia was something.

We can’t take things with us when we’re gone. Some may say we can’t take our memories of our experiences, either. Maybe that’s true. But I’ll tell you what…when I’m in my final hour and I’m thinking about my life, you can bet I’ll be reminiscing about the good times I had. I’m not going to be thinking about my clothes or my car or my computer or even my shot glasses. I’m going to be remembering all the good times I had. Isn’t that what we do when we celebrate the life of a lost loved one? We remember the times we had with that person, rather than the stuff that person had? We remember the type of person they were, not the things they bought.

May your new year be filled with experiences that will last a lifetime.