It was cold here today and we saw our first flurries. I ran errands, began food shopping for Thanksgiving, and stopped in at a brand new Starbuck's to find they won't be open until tomorrow morning :(. (Well, the door was open and the lights were on!!)
Yesterday, I met a childhood friend for lunch. Mel and I attended elementary school together at a parochial school near Philadelphia. We also attended a small, all-girl, "convent" high school taught by the Sisters of the Holy Child. Mel graduated from there but after one year, I left to go to public school. Several years ago, I learned she was living in Maryland and since then we meet for lunch several times a year. We laugh, we talk about our children, our lives - then and now. The common denominator between us is strong. What a blessing to have a friend like this in my life. One who knew me as my nascent me! Our day together got me thinking about friendship...
Some time ago someone asked me what I did for fun. This was in response to a comment I had made about feeling a bit lonely. I told her I chaperoned dances and football games. She said that was work and repeated her question.
"What about friends?" she asked.
"What about them?" I said.
"Do you have any?"
I actually had to stop and think. There were people from work with whom I was very close, but the friendships didn't extend beyond school. There were many with whom I was acquainted, but very few were actually close friends. My husband and I busily traveled to and from field hockey games, horse shows, lacrosse games, and band concerts for our kids. I also served as an elected official in our community for quite a few years. Frankly, I cherished my alone time: reading, gardening, doing crossword puzzles, walking and working out. But, at that point came the epiphany: I couldn't have it both ways!!! If I wanted friends, I had to 'hang out the shingle.'
I wonder how many of us unconsciously hide the "shingle" and then suffer feeling alone? Since that pivotal conversation, I'm more aware of the "shingle" -- body language, activity choices. Even the choice to post on a blog is "putting it out there" -- at least with me it has been a real relief from feeling isolated. The 'live feed' and the comments are such a boon, such a connector, such a reminder that there are so many good people to meet, friends to make, viewpoints to appreciate. I still cherish the quiet time; the alone time, but I know how important a balance is.
- I am a retired English teacher and department head, the mother of three, grand mother of three, and have been married to the same man for 42 years. I subscribe to Dr. PM Forni's concept of Civility. I was born in South Philadelphia and grew up in the 'burbs. I love soft pretzels and cheesesteaks, the Phillies, the Eagles, and San Diego. I love being Mom, Aunt Kathy, Nona Kathy, and Teacher. I spend a lot of time in my gardens in the spring and summer, and in the winter I plan what I'm going to plant. I also am an avid reader and photographer.