But if the while I think on thee, dear friend,
All losses are restored and sorrows end.
~ William Shakespeare
Today’s pontificating will be on the subject of friendship, kittens. I admire each and every one of the people I call friends, fiercely. But occasionally even I am blown away by how wonderful they can be to me and others – I’ve recently been on the receiving end of a lot of wonderfulness, hence this post.
Running through the roll call in my head, a few things stand out about the women in my life:
All of my friends are self motivated and proactive – sure they’ve had setbacks, sometimes major ones, and frustrations, but they kept moving forward until they were either through their troubles or had a good handle on them.
Venice lives in the Midwest in the area that has been ravaged by tornadoes recently. The storms struck minutes before school was out so she was managing children and panicky adults for a while before seeing to her own safety. We’ve been playing phone tag for a couple days now, but she’s safe and well. She’s also out volunteering with the cleanup along with her husband and friends, and has been since day one. She didn’t hesitate, and never has hesitated, to try and make things better for other people.
My friends have personal problems that run the gamut from family issues to medical complications but none of them define themselves or allow themselves to be defined by their personal challenges. They are complex, vibrant creatures who do not allow anyone (including themselves) to be pigeonholed by a single facet of their lives.
Marie is still recovering from her car accident and her health is still nowhere near where it should be. She still managed to move herself to the East Coast sans husband who is off at basic training, whilst recovering from a recent surgery. Can anyone say, “Gumption?”
My friends help their friends out. Sure, every single one of us has been in the doldrums at some point but we don’t let each other stay there for longer than is healthy.
When I confided to Peregrine how ridiculously intimidated I felt about the prospect of having to job hunt again when we figure out where we’re going to settle, she listened, offered her normal sage advice, and then did a tear down on my resume to demonstrate how to tailor it to a specific job. Quickly followed up by an email offering practical suggestions on how to write a killer cover letter. (Believe it or not, the only other time I got any information on this sort of thing was during a half hour seminar freshman year of university.) All this came wrapped up in sisterly encouragement and a drill sergeant’s understanding that if you want to do something, the best time to start it now. “Get me a draft tonight.” “Ma’am, yes ma’am!”
My friends motivate and encourage one another.
Scarlett knows exactly which carrot will make this pony run – literally. She combined a Christmas present with a New Year’s motivational gift in the form of a J. Crew cardigan with the promise of another if I stick with it. I’ve exercised at least six days a week ever since. She also encourages my writing, critiquing ideas and applauding enthusiastically at a short story publication after months of work. She asks for my opinions on her own writing, I had the privileged of helping to edit a novel manuscript of hers, and she bounces life decisions off me regularly, often with requisite paperwork.
My friends are not defeatists, they are tenacious and driven. They are not selfish, they are warm, loving, and inclusive. They are not petty and narrow, they are magnificently broadminded and hungry for more.
And I, ducklings, am a very lucky woman.
Surround yourself with good people, your life will be rich beyond measure.