Adult Friendships Can be Tough…

A few evenings ago Rob and I found ourselves at an impromptu dinner with one of my best friends of over ten years, and a coworker of hers.  My dear friend was in town for a bit of SXSW work, and we took the opportunity to sit down, talk in high speed NY fashion (add to that the CHARMING British accent of her coworker) and catch up over a meal.  Then we meandered over to a show where we hung out ever so briefly with another dear friend who was presenting a huge showcase with about 4,000 people expected.  He was also working, but made it a point to meet us, make sure we were granted VIP entrance, find us inside, share a few drinks and laugh at how far we’ve all come since our days together at Interscope.  It was a fast night, it was a long and late night, but it was one of the best nights I have had in YEARS.

'Scope Reunion, y'all!

See, this is how things are done where I’m from.  You may not have a lot of time to spend together but you make the most of it when you do, and you try to do it as often as possible.  There’s a feeling that no time has passed, and an invigorating sense of community (Anjali, you were so right) just from the encounter.  Yes, in New York and Los Angeles both, we frequently MADE time for our friends so that we could bask in the feeling we got from the connection.  Sure, there are always friendships of convenience… You see them at a common hang out locale, and you revel in each others company until the next time. But the true connection that you get from spending quality time with someone who really understands you, that is GOLD.

I’m not sure if it happened when my son was born, or if it started during my pregnancy, but I have felt a significant amount of social isolation in the past few years.  Some of my closest friends are also new mothers, and frankly its tough finding time to get together on a regular basis.  I live thousands of miles away from my lifelong best friends and my own family, so the regular drop-ins that were a staple of my youth don’t exist.  I never thought that I would miss that so intensely.

But I digress. Another post for another time.

Livin' la vida vino!

I have been blessed to form many friendships with some amazing people that I work with. We frequently invent reasons to get together… Girls Night Out, Bunco, or even Happy Hour.   Maybe this is just how adult friendships work?  I don’t know.  I cherish these women, and wish I could spend more quality time with them for no reason whatsoever!  The precious moments spent among friends seem just too few and far between the rest of the chaos.

More, please!

My husband has been one of my very best friends since we met eight years ago, as a matter of fact, I prefer his company over all others.  He gets the quirks of my personality that most people do not get.  He knows that when I am loud and boisterous about something it is a sign of a burning interest or passion.  Most people just think I am a bitch (NOT the worst that I’ve been accused of lately, but that might be found in a post one day as well). Rob sees my desire to change the world and make it a better place for our son as courageous.  Many people label me an idealist. Through my husband, I have come into contact with some of the people I hold nearest and dearest to my heart.  Friends and family have been added to my life that have lent layers of complexity and value to our lives, yet even that cannot replace the feeling I experienced the other night.  Comradery, perhaps…

I find myself yearning for the quality time spent with friends, not out of convenience or even need to solve many of life’s constant dramas, just out of love for one another. Talking about the newest line of H&M over coffee… Laughing at a memory of an embarrassing moment we witnessed (read: experienced) together.  Sitting on a dock overlooking the bay with drinks in hand and smiles on lips. Memories, that at the time seemed like they would always be current and commonplace.  The lack of these moments in my life has left me feeling pretty melancholy.

Is this typical of adult relationships?  Common for new mothers?  Do we find ourselves so immersed in our family lives and day to day responsibilities that we simply don’t have time to spend on our personal relationships?  Sure, my time is sparse since becoming a mother. The many facets of my day to day life are often exhausting and mundane.  I adore every single minute spent with my two amazingly sweet boys, but something is missing.  I know that life as I knew it pre-motherhood will never return.  I don’t regret or resent the “new” life, but like I said, I’m feeling a bit nostalgic for certain aspects of the “old.”

What do you think?  Is this the normal progression of friendships made in adulthood?  Are our lives too busy to connect at a deeper level or am I simply asking too much?  Speak to me!

Would You Rather Be Right or Happy?

So often in my life I feel compelled to fix things. Broken things, rusty things, tattered, torn and wrinkly things. When friends come to me for advice, its hard not to offer up a solution, it’s the problem solver within me. Most likely this part of my nature is the reason I am working to become a therapist. I’ve learned not to try to “fix” or change the people in my life, as it certainly never works. What does work, however, is adjusting my expectations.

Take a moment and briefly re-read that last statement to check for personal resistance. For me, it has been quite a challenge but one that I am grateful to have taken.

Throughout my entire life I have created an unrealistic set of expectations for myself, and I am forever trying to live up to them. These expectations often include my career, personal life, the standards that I set for myself as a parent, and those that I strive for as a human being. I don’t fool myself into believing that I am ALWAYS living up to them. I’ve become the happiest I have ever been while resting in the knowledge that I am a work in progress. I mess up, I try to reflect and grow from the experience. But that wasn’t always the case.

There have been times in my life where I messed something up so irrevocably that I had to destroy any link between whatever “it” was and myself. Some relationships have gone up in flames because I was too proud or immature at the time to reflect or understand my part in their demise. I don’t regret these stages, because they’ve led me to appreciate the personal growth that I’ve experienced. Sure, I regret some of my actions, but I try to forgive myself and move on.

One of the greatest lessons I have learned was one of the most subtle. The question, “Is it better to be right or happy?” was asked of me one day. The subject matter was so irrelevant that it doesn’t even come to mind, but the question was profound. Not even at that very moment, but later on as I used that question time and again to understand myself and those around me.

EGO… It sure holds a lot of meaning for such a small word.

Does our own ego outweigh the value of our personal connections?
One glance at my Facebook feed could prove that this is undoubtedly true.

“Person A” states an opinion. Argument ensues over the validity and every argument is tainted with sarcasm, not pedagogy.

“Person B” posts a serene image with a profound (for them in that very moment) quote and fifteen people are clamoring to be the first person to tell them that the author of the quote is incorrect.

“Person C” posts about a revelation that that they’ve had and we rush to “put them in their place” because their revelation is in direct conflict with our own beliefs, “Person C’s” past actions, or frankly, we are just making fun of their experience. Are we so ego driven that our desire to be right outweighs another persons happiness? And when did tearing someone else down begin to equate to our own happiness through personal vindication?

Why is it so important to be right, to be MORE right, than anyone else? To be SMARTER than anyone else? To have had more LIFE experiences than anyone else? To be HAPPIER than anyone else? Do we really need to point these things out to feel validated? Maybe for some. And if I am going to be true to myself, I’ve got to concede that its perfectly OK when other people need these validations. Because, IT IS. And at the end of the day, I’m happier not arguing it.

There are things in my life that hold great value to me and I could argue their importance until I’m out of breath… However, I’m learning that my values don’t hold the same worth to everyone else. If what they think or do doesn’t somehow harm the world we share or the people that I love, I can let it go. At the end of the day everyone is really just trying to do whatever it is that they believe will make them happy.

Who am I to argue with that?