First off, did you notice this blog got a facelift? I said when I changed the name of the blog (formerly: So Scared of Getting Older, I'm Only Good at Being Young) that I was going to making other changes so - TA DA! I'm not sure yet if I'll miss the big red couch that reminded me of the one in my living room but for now...
A new challenge I've been feeling my friendships lately is to adapt to the changes in my close friends lives. The last couple years have really changed each of our lives in different ways - as some of my friends have moved back home with their parents, some have moved to new cities (like myself). A few of my friends have gotten married, while some of us are putting most of our energy into our careers, for now. A couple of my friends have recently had babies, which is really rockin my world because I still feel so young (falsely, perhaps).
I've probably beat a dead horse over talking how crazy your 20s are. But lately I'm really focused on how to tackle that by being the right kind of friend. I wanted to be the friend who rises to the occasion and finds a way to be part of each of my closest friends lives, no matter how differently they look from my own. Does that make sense?
You all walked through with me my realization that I wasn't holding up my end of my best friendship over a year ago. I realized that as Candy made her way to Florida several times a year, met me in Indy with my family, and remembered every detail of my weeks from doctors appointments to dates to talks with family members - I wasn't keeping pace. After her wedding last October I thought - why have I never met her family until now? Why have I never been to her town? Why didn't I know all these great people who are part of her life?
You were also with me here on the blog when I set out to change that. I spent a couple days over Christmas being part of her life in Scottsburg, IN and I returned again over July 4th weekend to celebrate with her families (my Dad may still be holding a grudge about this). I've tried to be more involved by actually being there, and by knowning the big and the small stuff. It's hard for me sometimes to be so far away - when I'd rather be doing every day life with her. But I have to say I've made some big strides and I see it really growing our friendship (clearly meaning I was the one holding it back before).
I may have stepped up to the plate this year where my friendship with Candy is concerned but am I the right kind of friend in other close relationships? Maybe in a few. I was praying for my friends by name the other night and I thought hmm, what does it look like to be a good friend in this phase of my life? The only answer I've found is that it looks really different for each of my friends. I want to be part of their lives. I want to encourage them in the areas they need it most. That looks really different on a case-by-case basis.
I had a newlywed friend over this week. I wanted to hear about her honeymoon and her post wedding thoughts (I was at the wedding, here locally). Before the wedding she'd come to a class at my gym with me and I remember her asking if after the wedding I'd help her get in a routine of cooking simple meals (like I've been trying to do for myself). She (again, like me) isn't a big cooker but wants to save the money and eat healthier by learning to put together easy, inexpensive, healthy meals. Ah, ha!
I invited her over Monday night and I cooked us dinner, which we ate together and gabbed about the wedding, her new apartment with her hubby and son, life after marriage, etc. I had e-mailed her the easy recipe I thought we should start out with so that she could gather the supplies before she came over (which she did) and I helped her put the casserole together and cook it she could feed it to her family later that week.
It was an easy way to not just spend time with her and catch up on her life but be a helpful friend. She's entered a whole new phase of life - having already been a mother (which I know little to nothing about) and now having a husband and a home to keep up with as well. I wanted to spend the time we hanging out, also helping her get ahead for the week. And we both had so much fun in the process, we've decided to make it a regular occurrence. I was so encouraged by the experience that it immediately got me thinking...how could I be more purposeful in other relationships as well?
I haven't brainstormed this through totally (but I'm open to all ideas). I was also trying to help a friend who wanted to work on her finances. Like myself, she wants to be out of debt! Lucky for her, that's easier to accomplish when your debt isn't a home (I won't have that paid off this year, I can tell you that much). Anywho, I've found a couple great babysitting clients I've been rotating through regularly to boost my pay off and savings and I thought - maybe I could help her get going. I helped her through joining the website I use, making a profile, gave her a few tips on how much to charge, etc. and even helped her get her first job, with one of my current clients.
Now, I don't share this with you to brag that I'm the ultimate friend - trust me. I have such a disturbingly long way to come as a friend, really. But I've figured out that in my busy, crazy, hectic life I can't lose sight even for a second of what a solid friendship is supposed to look like. For me, as a believer, I really feel like that includes praying for them, helping them, challenging them, encouraging them, and of course spending quality time with them. Time is precious to me and I'm so scheduled that I really have to make a constant, conscious effort. But nothing frustrates me more than flighty friends so I don't want to BE that kind of friend. I also have identified one of the areas in my life that I'm not giving enough attention to is serving. Being willing to serve my friends. That's another catagory that looks different depending on the friend but it requires thought, effort, and again, being purposeful.
I'll take any and all prayers from you all that you're willing to offer me in this department. I feel really blessed to have such great friendships, after years of not having them I don't want to spend a single moment being unappreciative or taking them for granted. I'm learning a lot but the more I learn the more I realize I have left to learn.