Thursday, January 21, 2010

Blessed with Lifelong Friendships

I am not a person who easily makes friends with women. Most people who know me know this. And yet, I have been blessed in this lifetime with not one, but two, lifelong female friends. I am eternally grateful for these friendships and my life has been shaped and made infinitely better because of them.

One is my friend Cathi, whom I met in middle school through the school district's spelling bee. (That's 20 years ago, folks, for those keeping count.) She beat me in the contest, correctly spelling the word "indubitably" which I STILL have to double-check to make sure I get it right when I write it. Being beaten in a contest may seem like a strange way to start a friendship, but in fact that has characterized our friendship from the start. We have never been competitive with each other, and we complement each other very well. She is a wonderful person, very non-judgmental, funny, has a great outlook on life, and has a fashion sense I would kill for. She is very much her own person, and if she worries about what others think of her, she keeps it very close to her vest.

Our friendship has survived long distance (we attended colleges far from each other), deaths of family members, very different political outlooks, and differences of opinion on a variety of things. The beautiful aspect of our friendship is that we are able to celebrate each other's differences, and we rely on each other to provide a different way of thinking. We help each other get out of our heads and into someone else's thoughts, with no judgment passed and no rancor. There are very few people I trust with my deepest, darkest secrets, for fear that they might turn their backs on me. I never worry about that with Cathi, and I hope she knows that I extend her the same honor. I thank her for being in my life, and for being such a treasured part of mine.

As if that weren't enough, I am blessed with Susie.

I met Susie on the first day of kindergarten, when we were both 5 years old. We have been nearly inseparable since. Today, Susie turns 33 years old, and it is a rare thing to have known someone almost their entire life and not be related to them. Susie is gifted with patience, a wicked sense of humor, a gentleness I long to possess, the ability to stand her ground without being confrontational, and a strong commitment to being herself. She is my roller coaster partner, my friend, my confidante. She is the twin I never had. Although I love my husband very much, Susie is my soul mate in the sense that she knows my soul better than I do, knows when to boost me up and when to kick me in the butt and tell me I'm wrong. She truly knows the song in my heart, and sings it back to me when I forget it. I only hope that I am half the friend to her that she is to me.

I have saved cards, and letters, and notes passed in class, from each of these precious people. My life history could not be written without either of them. How incredibly lucky, and blessed, and graced I have been by these two incredible women. In a world where it's easier to leave people when they displease us, where commitment is sometimes a mushy thing, these women teach me every day about what it is to be a friend. I am humbled by, and truly grateful for, their friendship and their trust.

Thank you, Cathi.
Thank you, Susie.

Happy birthday, K.G.F.!

Thank you, God, for the sacred gift of lifelong friendship. I know it is rare, and I am incredibly blessed by these two people in my life.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

New Year, New Thoughts

This is 2010, a new year, and a new decade. These are the promises I make to myself, and by publishing them here, I hope to keep them and be held accountable.

1. Live my family life by the following values:

These values do not include having a spotless house, maintaining grudges, worrying about how much junk is riding around with me in my car, etc. They do encompass what I want in my life and how I want to treat those I love.

I refuse to start a new decade thinking the same thoughts that make me unhappy, doing the same things that make me unhappy, etc. I am in control of my life. I refuse to be a victim of my own negative thoughts.

In 2010 and thereafter, I resolve to banish negative thoughts and the cycle of arguments in which I've been stuck. I refuse to fight the same fights, both in my head and otherwise, that I spent 2009 fighting. No more will I be a prisoner to thoughts that weigh me down and take away from happiness.

What this really comes down to is self-control. If I can control myself at work and put forth a positive attitude there, then why not at home? And if I'm unhappy about things, who in the world is going to fix it if I don't? I'm responsible for my own happiness, no one else is. I've known this for a long time, but now I'm recommitting to taking responsibility and really deciding what I let into my life and what I simply dismiss as something I don't want in my life, in my mind, in my heart, in my soul.

I wish all my friends and family the best in 2010. I love you all more than I can say, and without you I would not be who I am. I hope to make you proud this year, this decade, this lifetime. I hope to be someone I can be proud of.