Change

Breaking Up With Friends

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The Drift: A Guide to Surviving a Friendship Breakup, by Lauren Foster, prompted me to look back at former friendships.  Her tips for working through the process included: allowing oneself room to mourn, letting go, giving thanks, and finally, forming new friendships.   It struck a chord with me, and I wondered if breaking up with friends was as difficult as breaking up with a significant other.

thank you for defriending memeSocial media allowed me to reconnect with many old friends, meet the man who became Hubby, and find new sets of like-minded people who shared my interests in Zumba, health and weight loss, Nursing and reading.   I met my Zumba instructor friends in 2008, at the ZIN (Zumba Instructors Network) Convention, after “speaking” with them on an everyday basis through a networking message board.   When we met in person for the first time, it felt like a reunion of long-time friends.   We had a wonderful time together and remained connected, through Facebook, even though we are scattered throughout the country.   Similarly, I remained connected with new Nursing school friends and old high school and college friends.

Facebook also brought new people into my life and several acquaintances became friends.   Because I craved the one-on-one interaction of looking someone in the eye when speaking with them, I wanted to meet online friends in person.  Logistically, that was impossible.  Additionally, there was a layer of anonymity and artifice as we could create an online persona different from our own.  There was a chance that we were getting a “sanitized for the internet” version of someone’s personality, but I think people’s true colors eventually surfaced the more we got to know each other.

Talk to the hand, because the face ain’t listening.

Recently, a couple of my online friendships reached a logical end.   One was easily dismissed, as she was not someone I felt comfortable confiding in.   She was an oversensitive, passive/aggressive person whose feelings were easily hurt.  Moreover, her definition of confidentiality and mine were incompatible.  Communicating with her was simply tiresome and reminiscent of volatile, hormone-driven Middle School friendships.  Peace. Out.

The other break up hurt.  She and I bonded over mutual experiences and beliefs.  Unfortunately, her image of me was influenced by others and she accused me of speaking ill of her behind her back.  At the same time she was speaking ill of me.   I freely admitted to speaking (er, gossiping…gulp) about her, but my “error” was calling her out for doing the same thing.

I developed my own thick skin, but that did not mean that I had not suffered at the hands of Regina George and her ostracizing band of Mean Girls.  After reaching out to her a couple of times, it became abundantly clear that she no longer wanted my friendship.  I took a  relationship break, as it became obvious that I was a”fan friend” there to build her up,  rather than a partner in the relationship.    I said goodbye privately to the friendship, and mentally moved her to my “cordial acquaintances” list.

The pain of losing the connections was similar to breakups I had with men.  The drama associated with them, however, was decidedly female.   While I didn’t have physical relationships with my female friends, I was still sad to see them leave.  Once these friendships ended I immediately felt lighter, as if a weight had been removed from my chest.  As  I realized I would not be speaking with these people everyday as I had grown accustomed to, I embraced a short grieving period.

Then, something astounding happened.

I found TIME.  Time to speak with other online friends, time to spend cleaning up my house, time to read other books, time to watch television,  time to work and most importantly, time to spend with my family!   It was not only liberating, but empowering and humbling.  As those doors closed, others opened.   I just needed to allow them the space, take a deep breath and plunge back in.

Tell me about your experience breaking up with friends.  Was it an ugly breakup or did you just drift away from each other?  Did you ever reconnect with the old friends?

30 Days of Thanks – Day 20

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Guest-Blogger
Stop in and leave a note.

When I started this blog I needed an outlet for my feelings.  Not only has the experience been cathartic, it has given me the opportunity to read other bloggers’ thoughts.  But, the unexpected blessing has been the thought-provoking discussions I have had with people all over the world.  Over time, I my readership numbers steadily increased, and I started to find my voice.   Thank you for taking the journey alongside me.

Today is about you.  Whether you focus on books, humor and satire, fashion, or life, please leave a post with your name, the name of your blog and a brief description of it.  This post is a forum to celebrate your blogs and pay it forward.

30 Days of Thanks – Day 6

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Time to pause and regroupI am blessed to have parents and in-laws who are supportive, loving and still “worry” about me, even though I’m middle-aged.   I shared the news of the temporary pause, yet again, of my nursing education journey with them.  While they were upset for me – probably more than I was – they immediately had words of comfort and support for me.

This marks a new chapter in my life, into uncharted waters.  Do I want to continue on the same course, or try something different?  Is this my passion or something that seemed like a good idea at the time?   Am I ready to make another leap?   These questions remain unanswered at the moment.

What I Know

1. I have a passion for reading and writing.  Until this Summer, when I was writing consistently, it was only a hobby.

2. I like to help others.  In the broad sense.   I am the person you turn to when you need tough love, or when tough choices need to be made.

3. I like to work for myself.

The key will be to combine 1, 2, and 3.   Stay tuned.

30 Days of Thanks – Day 5

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Today I am thankful for the many people who came into my life through Nursing school.  We will soon be parting ways, but they will live forever in my heart.

Time May Change Me, But I Can’t Trace Time

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Life is change.  We have the choice to accept and embrace change, or not.   The hardest part is knowing change is inevitable but not  being ready for it.   Or watching helplessly as people we love are hurt by changes in their lives.   A natural instinct is to protect – but, from what or whom?

As I’ve moved through adult life and collected experiences, I am struck by how different my life was 20 or 30 years ago.  I envisioned myself as an attorney and created an elaborate life of excess.  It was the 1980s and “excess” was the “American dream.”   Once I went to college, that vision evolved as my views on social justice and politics were refined.  Excess seemed distasteful and wrought with greed.   It was the wrong fit for me, even though I attempted to make it fit.   After college, I started to find my voice.  It has been, and will be, a lifelong process.Bono Change Quote

But, what happens when someone I care for is experiencing difficult changes?  Especially, when I recognize the process and know it will be painful, albeit necessary, for that person.  Should I “nag?”  Should I leave them alone?  Should I wait to be contacted?  Each situation has been unique and while I want to say I handled them well, that would be inaccurate.  If I’m lucky, I’m breaking even on the “supportive friend/family member” role.

Changes are part of the life cycle and, in some respects, “expected.”  However, “everyday” life changes like starting a new job, marriage, divorce, losing a job, having children, not having children, etc., may be unexpected.  We can attempt to prepare ourselves for them by being the best version of ourselves and staying connected with those we love.   For me, this means not retreating into my cocoon of solitude, or we call it at my house, my “bear hibernation cave.”   I am naturally extroverted and have an opinionated, over-the-top, bull-in-a-china-shop, overwhelming personality.   But, when I become quiet, introspective and retreat into myself, I am either angry or very sad.

So, as I reflect back on how I manage change, I am struck by Bono’s quote, “I can’t change the world, but I can change the world in me.”  I think he is talking about growing older and learning from previous experiences.  Then, using the knowledge, understanding and possibly, maturity gained to move forward.

David Bowie expresses it beautifully, in the song “Changes”

Onward and upward.