Recently, I’ve been noticing that a lot of my friends are having a hard time. These are friends from all different areas of my life, the problems are diverse & the severity is all over the board. There’s no consistency, no pattern, no reason that they’d all be feeling this way at exactly the same time. Basically, things just suck.
I’ll admit that I’ve dug myself into my own little hole lately. Maybe it’s the time of year…the span from March to May has always had a lull in it for me. I may be the only person that doesn’t really like Spring at all. I was a little bummed when I realized that Z would be born in April. It’s just not my favorite month. Maybe that’s why he HAD to be born then.
Anyway, I’ve been in a slump.
Over the weekend, I got kicked out of my funk a bit. I spent some time with my family and then I spent some time with some friends. I had a good cry & had a really good talk with a friend (the 2 overlapped actually). And then that was it. I cleared the air with a couple people on Monday, got some stuff accomplished on Tuesday. Suddenly, BOOM….I’m feeling better. Weird.
Once I started checking in with my friends, I noticed that they had a lot going on too. While I was hibernating, a really good friend made a really difficult, major decision in her life. I wish that I’d been there a little more for her, but she seems okay. Another friend told me that she was exhausted from being the one that was always helping people…and that sometimes she needed help too. A third friend is beginning to address some unresolved issues she has with her family…things have come to a head.
At work the other day, I was talking to a friend with a life situation eerily similar to mine. She’s a working mom, she and her husband both work crazy schedules and never see each other, they have no family near-by & she just feels like she’s treading water with no boat in sight. I can COMPLETELY relate. We talk about it every so often. One will be talking, trying to find just the right metaphor, and the other will be nodding vigorously and saying “YEAH! EXACTLY!”. Damn…I wish we were neighbors.
While talking to this co-worker, I mentioned that I’d noticed that a lot of people around me seemed to be having a hard time with various things. I know that the economy has a lot of people feeling down, but this seems different. Unemployment isn’t the issue, everybody who needs a job has one. Nobody’s about to lose their house or their car. I guess it’s a possibility that the economy is indirectly to blame. The evening news has been a bit of a downer (more so than usual) and when you’re surrounded by unhappiness and frustration it’s bound to rub off a bit.
Later that evening I noticed a status update on Facebook by a girl I went to high school with. She was a few years younger, my sister’s year, and I never knew her THAT well….but she played field hockey with me and I always liked her. Her status read: “… is physically and mentally exhausted. Will I ever truly be happy again?”. When I read this, it made me really sad. She has a young daughter and on a couple of occasions we’ve exchanged wall posts about the chaos of raising a toddler. I knew that she’s been dealing with a lot, but honestly have no idea what happened to bruise her spirit.
I live with this insane fear of not being remembered, or overstepping the line of familiarity with people from my past. I remember (most) people really well and could pick up an old inside joke 10 years later or make an obscure reference from high school. Of course, that freaks some people out and makes me look like an obsessed stalker. Because of this, I don’t always respond to old friends’ posts. I don’t want to come on too strong or make them feel self-conscious.
This time though, when I read this update, I just felt that a response was necessary. I thought about how many people I knew who were feeling pain and I wanted to help. I wanted to make her feel better. I wanted to make all my friends feel better. I wrote to her and told her that I was sending her good thoughts. She immediately wrote back and thanked me. It was so simple, but I think that it brought happiness to both of us.
Sometimes you need to bring joy to others in order to find joy in yourself. That’s the point I’ve hit- I’ve come through a rough patch and now I want to pull others up with me. I can be there for the people I care about. It’s the one way I know that I can help.
It’s nothing but love.