Live your life in such a way that when your feet hit the floor in the morning, Satan shudders and says "Oh shit, she's awake."

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The view from the back of the room...

When you are sitting in meetings for two days – mostly at the back of the room –listening to speaker after speaker talking about things you really have little interest in, it gives you some time to not only think about things, but really gain some perspective on life, and all that it throws at you. Over the past two days of mind-numbing meetings, I have thought long and hard about friends, family, people I miss in my life. I have decided there is much I need to step back from, and re-evaluate. I think somewhere I lost a bit of my focus...time to get back on track...time to reflect on the value add of the relationships in my life. Those that add value are worth keeping. Those that don’t really do need to go.

Mostly I found myself dumbfounded by the inability of people around me to see beyond the end of their own nose. It’s so easy to become so wrapped up in our own little world, our comfort zone, our bubble. Not to say I have not been guilty of this from time to time, but I have always tried to be the kind of person who is there for others regardless of the personal cost. That being said, sometimes events happen that make me realize that while it is absolutely “the right thing to do” by making yourself available to others in whatever capacity they may need you, it is also important to remember two things – first of all, just because you make it a point to always be there for everyone else, to expect others to be there for you is tantamount to setting yourself up for a lifetime of disappointment. Secondly, people are by and large all about themselves, and expect everyone else in the world to be “about them” too. When called upon by someone who is in need of assistance, they may make an effort, but only to the point where it does not affect them in any meaningful way. Once another individual’s needs impede on their time, or their perceived lifestyle, that is generally when the door slams shut and they have no time to honestly be there for anyone else. My mistake? I have spent a lifetime putting others first (against the advice of my mother, who was totally right about this one) and in the end, when I have felt that I was in need, or wished for someone, anyone, to give a crap about what was happening in my life, the disappointment was huge, leaving a hole in my soul, and forcing me to look at my friendships in a light that is let's just say very unflattering. Mostly, when this happens, I tend to never look at those people in the same way again, which would explain why I keep so few people close to me, and why I have so little trust in others. When countless people have pissed on you only to tell you it's raining, your patience for such behavior becomes thin. There is, however, a very important lesson in all of this, and that is while it is tempting to always put the needs of others ahead of your own, it is so crucial, in the name of self-preservation, to always keep something for yourself. People can be emotional vampires, sucking the life from you at any opportunity. Always hold that bit of reserve energy close to your heart for your own sanity. You never know when you will have to save yourself.

The one thing that all of this has taught me is that self-sufficiency is the most important gift we can give to ourselves. This alleviates situations concerning friendships that turn out to be a disappointment. I fear it has also hardened my heart in some ways, I must admit. I tend to never rely on anyone for anything, not even those who are closest to me. I have never asked for financial assistance, and rarely look to others to prop me up emotionally. Self-sufficiency can be a pretty lonely spot, lemme tell ya. I keep hoping I will find that one person who will prove me wrong, besides my family or Bill, but maybe my bar is just too high. I think I know one or two people who might possibly be the exception. Time will tell I suppose.

I also realized, while sitting in the back of the room, that I need to put some focus on people and friendships that I have left fall by the wayside. These are people I shared great moments with in the past, who have reached out to me in the hopes of rekindling a friendship. I need to at least entertain the thought of the possibility. I am at least hopeful that it will not prove to be a waste of my time. Such was the case this past weekend. I was allowed to share some really wonderful moments with a friend that I rarely get to see. It was a gentle and wonderful reminder of what a good woman she is, and how lucky I am to have her in my life. Her friendship is truly a gift. Thank you, Annessa.

Likewise, I think I have spent too much time putting some people ahead of those two people closest to me - Bill and my daughter Tricia. I’m not sure how I could have let such a thing happen, but it is the one thing that I am sure needs to be corrected. I am so blessed to have Bill and Tricia there with me, always in my corner, always cheering me on. They are, along with my family, the ones who keep me grounded and centered. So many other people can be such a distraction from the things that are really important in this world. I owe it to Bill, Tricia and my family to always make them the priority in my life.

So while on the surface, time at the back of the room may seem like a bit of a waste, in the end, it was the perfect time to reflect, nearly without distraction, on where my focus needs to be. I feel as though this new perspective is a treasure, one that I will try not to waste.

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