When you are feeling blue, have a case of the mean reds, don’t know what you’re doing with your life, or can’t quite figure out the next step you should take; If you have been eating chocolates and frostbitten ice-cream sandwiches while drinking old wine straight from the bottle; If you are sitting in a cafe trying to work (because you can’t work at home since your kids are there) but every song you hear makes you want to cry because how can they express life with such depth of emotion and you are once again working on another excel spreadsheet; If you feel like you keep trying and trying to figure out the secret key, the one more thing you can do or not do to all of the sudden feel that lightness and rightness of life that you are sure is right around the corner… there’s really only one antidote.
Call your friend. The one who knows the good and the bad. The one who has always been honest with you, even when it might have been something you didn’t want to hear. The one who has supported you, who believes you can write a novel, or run a marathon, or take a musical theatre comedy class.
When you get off the phone, nothing will be different. The dinner won’t be made. The house will be a mess. One child will probably be throwing something at another. You probably won’t exactly know what the next step is. You may still have work to do on that excel spreadsheet. Heaven knows your house will probably still smell bad, the back yard will still be eroding at a frightening rate, you will still not have discovered a magic pot of money, you will not know what you want to be when you grow up and you will not know how you are going to do a good job helping two little kids figure out how to grow up.
But its ok. Somebody really knows you. And after all this time, they still like you and you still like them. Magical. After a talk like that, it’s easier to take care of yourself, to be patient, to not eat those ice-cream sandwiches. You need some of those. At least I do.
As I get older I have started to think of my oldest friends more as the family that I’ve gotten to choose. It’s a whole different category of relationship. And as part of the 40 til 40 countdown I intend to reconnect with some folks who were highlights of the first 40 years and who I really hope will be part of my next 40.
Pingback: 40 + 1 (part 2): The final list | Jenaissance