I wrote a blog in late 2017 about another type of rare love, and that is friendship. Good and trustworthy friends who desire to invest in you as much as you want to invest in them are hard to come by. That is especially true in a culture that is busy and sometimes teaches that once you have a family friends are a luxury. Friendship doesn’t require two people to constantly be around one another, but if years go by is the term “friend” even accurate? If during that time both people change considerably and are not happy how things turned out, then is it good to continue to call the relationship a “friendship?”
There have been more people than I would like that fall into this sort of category. Not only has there been so much time between visits we don’t know each other, but a few people do not wish for that to change. Others have been toxic for various reasons, something which I didn’t know while I was close with them, but as they say hindsight is always 20/20.
There are things I would love to say to all these people, but I am starting to realize that the most loving thing I can do is let some people go. Some folks simply do not want to take the time or effort to invest in you. Their definition of “friend” is in all actuality an acquaintance. Someone they know, had a few good times, maybe even shared some deep things, but they ultimately don’t know you and you don’t know them. I would argue that most people have very few true friends if any at all. That is scary, especially since we are social creatures.
Do not misunderstand this, I’m not saying a long period of time between seeing each other necessarily means two people are not friends. What I am saying is that if one or both parties put little to no effort into the friendship it ceases to be a friendship entirely. Our emotions and sentimentality hinder us from making that realization. We often cannot comprehend that it might be loving to let someone go. Most of us would probably agree that we do not want a person feeling in bondage to us or an idea of us out of some sort of misguided sense of friendship.
Anyone who is an adult knows that with maturity comes more responsibilities. If you are a typical adult living on your own with a family you’re raising, this is particularly true. On top of work, raising children, and maintaining a relationship adulthood affords far less spare time than when we were younger. As a result, friendships fall apart and hobbies such as reading become neglected. Are we really so busy? If so, then is it necessary?
Western culture is notorious for cramming our lives with as much stuff and activities as possible. Children and work are huge commitments that take up most of our daily hours. Yet how much of this lack of time is due to having too many obligations instead of poor time management skills? After all, if you really want to read or spend time with a person you would. Sure, there are a plethora of good examples of things that could separate someone from a friend for a prolonged period or their reading hobby.
I have come across many people who say, “I would love to_____ but I just don’t have the time!” Here is my counter to that. The things I really love to do I still manage to do. Things I enjoy but aren’t as passionate about are the ones that get neglected due to “busyness.” Those we love and desire a real relationship with we reach out to even if we our personal lives have little room to work with. As a writer, when I read the statistic that roughly 80% of Americans do not read, I cannot help but wonder if the excuse of busyness is the reason. Then the next question that comes to mind is how can we writers come to terms with this and help American adults effectively rediscover the magic of reading?
Perhaps the answer lies in each and everyone of us contemplating what is our priorities in life. If we enjoy watching television, we will watch it. We all need to take an honest assessment of ourselves and discover our true priorities. If there is someone you think of as your friend but haven’t called him/her for years perhaps deep down, you may love or respect them but they are not really as close to your heart as you believe. The same goes for the more trivial things such as our hobbies. The point is that we all, myself included, need to reassess ourselves sometimes. If something needs to me more of a priority we need to make it so, otherwise we don’t care as much as we claim.
It is often said that true love is rare. Many people find romantic love, but making it last is difficult, especially to one person for the rest of our lives. In a culture where changing relationships is common practice, this is especially true. However, I hardly see posts, songs, or television shows about other types of rare love, particularly true friendship.
In grade school most of us had at least one friend, most had a handful to several. However, as hormones begin to fly, and kids grow into adults and discover who they are, people change along with their friendships. I was a docile kid, the stereotypical doormat. I let people say and do what they wanted to me and just fume to myself, this was the case all the way up until a few short years ago. I’m shy and introverted and so I spent quite a bit of time alone, but still needed friends. In fact, quality friendships are as important to me as family.
Like a lot of millennials, I grew up watching Boy Meets World and wanted desperately to have the kind of friendship that Cory and Shawn had. I had a couple friendships like that, but they did not run as deep or last as long as I had hoped. In some cases, it was a blessing to no longer be close with as they were mentally abusive, and a few were even bullies. With other people we are separated by distance but keep in contact as much as adulthood allows.
Ultimately, I learned that a good, solid friendship is hard to come by. In fact I would argue it is just as difficult to find as romantic love. Friends come and go, but it is rare to find someone who wishes to be invested in your life. This is not to say that I don’t have wonderful friends, or have t found the friendship I was looking for, just that life has taught me just how valuable it is. It you have a best fried That is like a sibling, then you are blessed, cherish them.
July has been one of the hardest months for my family. Without warning we lost our main source of income, and this happened one month after we just got a border collie named Syrup. Anyone who has dogs knows the first year they are very expensive due to spaying/neutering and shots.
I grew up with border collies and absolutely love the breed, and from the first day we brought Syrup home my family was in love. Then on July 5th we lost our income and my wife and I feared we would lose Syrup. As one can imagine it hasn’t been easy, but through it all Syrup has been a bright spot in each of our lives. She is a gentle, sweet-hearted dog that knows exactly how to comfort her family, despite being only a few months old. My wife and I have resolved no matter what financial struggles come our way, Syrup will remain a part of the family no matter what. No parent would give away a child just because their income was lost, and the same goes for our dog.
Through it all, it has been difficult to write. The stress, the exhaustion from being stressed, along with the never-ending job hunt has put this job on the back burner. I’ve tried a few freelancing gigs, which paid little, applied to scores of jobs, but it appears this is where I’m supposed to be for the time being. I’m now armed with an adorable border collie at my feet, and a reminder every day that no matter what happens, she is a bright spot for my family, and an inspiration of what love should be. Imagine if humans loved as unconditionally as some animals do? What if we all showed grace and patience with everyone, including those who wronged us? These are just a few musings I have. Even with growing up with dogs, it is a sweet reminder just how caring they can be in the darkest moments.
As always this stirs up inspiration within me as a writer. Humans can and are often as caring animals, but why is it often so difficult to see? Many times, it is easier for an animal lover such as myself to see the good in animals more than humans. Is it in our nature to be harsher with our own species than an animal that is cute and soft? Dogs and especially cats can have bad attitudes and disappoint us. They why do they seem to get more of a pass than an unpleasant person? Is it because we expect more from sentient beings, knowing that animals don’t always know better? These are the sorts of things I ponder as an author. That is what’s strange about what I do, literally everything is fair game for inspiration, including a sweet little puppy who is there no matter what.