Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Upward


Image by Theo Gosselin

Friendships can be a tricky thing. Most grievances I hear from others are about misunderstandings with friends, brought about mostly by disappointment in another when expectations are not met. I don’t like expectations. Expectations only ever lead to disappointment. I approach my friendships differently, I never, ever expect anything. And in return I always find I am pleasantly surprised.

I have had the same four best friends for all of my adult life. They are very different characters, with very different backgrounds and upbringings. Each of them brings joy into my life in their own very unique way. One friend I can share my deepest fears and secrets with. We can whittle away hours and hours just talking and laughing and sharing. She is the one who gets me, who really gets me. And she celebrates who I am without judgement, in fact she encourages even my silliest sides. I can call her in despair and an hour later she has reminded me of the good in any situation or consoled me through the bad. Another friend I’ve known since birth. She knows absolutely everything about my childhood and why I am the person I am today. We have history, she is the one familiar thing throughout my entire life along with my family. My third bestie is a crazy girl who I met and loved instantly as a naive and untravelled 23 year old. She would be one of my soul mates, I have learned so many life lessons from her. She was by my side during one of my darkest times of my 20s and she single-handedly kept my head above water. We don’t talk for months and yet when we get on the phone it’s like I saw her yesterday. We have been to some crazy places and done some crazy things. A true, lifelong mate. My fourth best friend is an inspiration, she aspires to be herself and I love that about her. We connect in a way best friends do, we just do. All four of these girls bring something into my life like no other, they are all unique and I often think how amazingly fortunate I am that they choose to be around me.

From my mid 20s I started to rely less on relationships. I started to enjoy my own company and found I didn’t need to be with another to be happy. Over the years I have found I enjoy my own company more and more. I love to sit at a cafĂ© on my own, I like going to the cinema solo, and I can walk into a bar on my own and spend an hour by myself. No problem, I enjoy it. I often notice people rely heavily on others and find comfort in numbers, that’s not a bad thing, but it’s the total opposite to me. Whereby I love to spend hours with girlfriends and always walk away wiser and happier for it, I don’t need to be with others to enjoy my time. Christopher McCandless aka Supertramp hit the nail on the head for me with this quote: “You are wrong if you think that the joy of life comes principally from the joy of human relationships. God’s place is all around us, it is in everything and in anything we can experience. People just need to change the way they look at things.” This resonates heavily with me. I think the expectation of others to make us happy is only going to wind up in disappointment. Friendships will sweeten the ride sure, but they shouldn’t be the basis of happiness in our day-to-day lives. Well so I think.

When I hit 40 I started to realise I disliked drama. I made a conscious effort to remove anything toxic from my life. There are some people and situations we cannot avoid, granted. However if I have the power to not involve myself in someone else’s drama then that’s what I will do. I avoid drama. I avoid grumblings and negativity and moods. God I hate moods. I have little time for the niceness one minute and the grumps the next, I avoid that too. And one thing I really learned when I hit 40 was that it is totally in my power to choose who I want to be around. Those folks that constantly complain about their life but do little to change it? Avoid. Those folks that gossip incessantly about their loved ones? Avoid. Those folks that belittle others to satisfy their own insecurities? Avoid. And it really is that simple. Your life, your power, your choice.

As I grow up (I am still growing) I realise time truly is precious. I don’t want to devote my time to toxic friendships or toxic people, I just don’t. And that’s okay, that’s my choice. I want to navigate my life in the direction of all that is warm and sincere. I strive to be that way myself, and I believe you do get what you dish out. So while I am not perfect, in fact far from it, I am learning, I am trying. And it is nice to know I have such beautiful, sincere friends holding my hand along the way.

14 comments:

  1. Wonderful post Peggy - it matches exactly what I have come to know of you via your blog! I truly wish I could share a best friend story like this, but thanks to moving around and letting go of some of those ones that were not good for me, I have good friends but no best friends.It is great that you cherish them and do not take them for granted as it is truly special what you have there! xx

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    1. Thank you sweet Deb, you're so kind. I never take my besties for granted, they have been my strength through some difficult times. And then there are the laughs.

      At least you didn't hold onto the ones worth letting go. :) xo

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  2. Wow. What a post!! You're such a grounded, together person Peggy. So in tune with what makes you happy. I am definitely becoming more comfortable with my own company as I get older. In my 20s, I couldn't bare it. But the 30s seem to be somewhat different. Life is just more fun to look at, to watch. I feel less like I need to be involved in everything. And so wonderful you've got such great friends around you. There's nothing like it xx

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    1. Thank you Bridget. You know I smiled when I read 'grounded, together person', I should probably draft a post or two when I am having one of my crazy days so you can see the other side of me! But you are right in that I do know what makes me happy. I have no issue doing more of what makes me smile.

      There is nothing quite like great friends to share the ride with. xo

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  3. Why do you always write exactly what I need to hear on any particular day????
    Thank you - as always.
    You really are an inspiration.
    :-) xx

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    1. I think maybe we go through similar things at any one time. Also I may be a little psychic! haha

      Thank you Shar, lovely to know you're inspired. xo

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  4. What a lovely post Peggy. A bit sad for me, as my friends are in the UK... But you're so right about removing the toxic relationships. I did that about 10 years ago!

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    1. Good move Vanessa!
      Two of my besties also live far away however when we get on the phone it's like we saw each other yesterday. I do miss them but knowing I have them in my life even from a distance is a beautiful feeling.

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  5. Thanks Peggy. I always try to surround myself with positive people and energy and avoid the negative if possible. I want to work up the guts to go to the cinema by myself. I know it sounds like no big deal but i guess to some people it is, as we are conditioned to think being alone is weird. I really like this vid you might have seen it previously: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k7X7sZzSXYs
    I think that is one brave person and hope to one day be more like that.
    Peace xoxo

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    1. Diana that video is amazing! I am going to post it on my blog. I love it, thank you for sharing that with me.

      I used to prefer company and found being alone anxiety inducing, however over the years I have slowly started to enjoy being alone. I love the solitude, I love the silence and the time to reflect and meditate. I hope you get to enjoy solitude too some day. xo

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  6. I think I'm getting old... I want to tell that girl to put her boob away =o\

    I'm a people pleaser so I always try and 'fix' situations or pretend I didnt notice them or they're not really bothering me. But about 3 years ago I had to let go of a toxic friend and it was so hard but so empowering. A sad kind of empowering, a kind of empowering I hope I never need to feel again, but empowering none the less.

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    1. Laura I couldn't stop noticing the boob too, but the picture was too perfect for the context of my post!

      I understand that sad kind of empowerment. I guess with letting go of friends we inevitably face a kind of loss and with that comes mourning. However taking back your power and not allowing toxic energy to fill your days is well worth the sadness of it. Hopefully you don't have to feel that again.

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  7. What a refreshing blog to read!

    So many of your words resonated deep within and found myself nodding and agreeing with you - friendships are a God send and if we learnt to celebrate eah other, we would have so much more to give and accept in love as opposed to poisoning with negativity.

    Thanks for your words Peggy. Loved it :)

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    1. Thank you Deborah, I'm glad you enjoyed it.

      I've found myself being poisoned with negativity and I too have done the poisoning, I make a very conscious effort now though to avoid the negativity on all fronts. There is definitely so much to enjoy about relationships and life itself to get bogged down with negativity.

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving me a note. :)

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