Friends

Adulting 101: Having Successful Friends

Last week, as I was sitting in the salon chair having my hair highlighted, my stylist and I got to chatting about relationships. She mentioned to me that she was feeling depressed – not clinically or anything life threatening, just down on herself for her decisions as of late. She’d just returned from a trip to San Diego, her old stomping grounds, and was feeling like she’d taken ten steps back in life. The friends she’d visited that she’d thought she’d have in her life forever, seemed to be making no progress in life. And the relationships she was nurturing at home, here in Sacramento, didn’t feel like they were enhancing her life in any way.

Oh, how well I understood her.

Right around the time I met my fiancé, I made a huge decision to filter some people from my life. I was nearing 29 years of age, getting ready to close out the last year of life in my twenties, and doing some major reflecting on the last ten years of my life. It got me realizing that in all that time, I had hardly changed at all. I was still hanging out with the same crowd and making the same decisions that I was making when I was 20. As fun as that was when I was younger, I realized how exhausted I was from trying to maintain this lifestyle that, if I’m being totally honest, was not natural to me.

I was in a bit of a depression myself because while I had grown successful in my professional life, I was still holding on to these relationships with people who were maintaining a whole lot of nothing. They brought absolutely nothing to my life, and yet I remained intertwined with them because I had this asinine fear of missing out [FOMO]. So basically my brain was at odds with itself because I couldn’t make up my mind which direction I wanted to take in my life. It eventually boiled down to an accumulation of small things that finally sent me over the edge enough to slam the door on my old life.

I haven’t looked back or regretted that decision one single time. It opened so many doors for me. I instantly met my fiancé, I was able to focus my energy on better quality friendships, and it freed up time for me to find joy in little things again. I love decorating my house, I love painting, crafts – and I wasn’t doing any of it because I was preoccupied with people who liked to party, for lack of a better word. when I finally shut them all out of my life, I realized how many good, quality humans I already had in my life that I just wasn’t giving the proper time and attention to.

One thing I quickly learned from having friends who are actually successful and responsible: money is never an issue. Not that money matters. I honestly don’t ever mind paying for my friends or footing the bill – if it means that everybody gets to enjoy themselves, then I’m happy to do it! That said, it is SO nice to be surrounded by people who actually have the means to support themselves and who actually offer to pay for things. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been out with a group of people who insist on dissecting the bill and only paying for their portion of a meal. It’s so frustrating and time consuming. If you can’t afford to go out, then don’t go out!

Another glorious thing about like-minded friends, they encourage you and lift you up. They are generally at a similar place in their life [or have been], and can relate to what you’re going through. Or vice-versa. And there’s a trust and a bond among those types of relationships that just doesn’t exist with surface-level friends. I’ve learned in the last year that those are the relationships that I’ve been desperately needing. I have so much stability from my family, but it’s important to have it from friendships and significant others, too.

I have always loved to travel, and having successful friends in my life has made it so much more fun because we can travel together! Nobody is stuck in town because they don’t have a real job – they can actually afford to take time off and explore. Even if it’s just a quick trip to Tahoe for a weekend, or Napa for the day to go wine tasting. As an adult, these are the experiences that make life fun, and missing out on them because your friends are more concerned about partying is a huge letdown.

If you’re feeling like I did, chances are it may be time to reassess your life and your relationships. And I totally know how hard it is to let people go who have been such a big part of your life and whose relationships you’ve spent countless amounts of time and energy on. But believe me, it’s worth washing your hands of those people now before you waste anything more. It seems heartless and rude, and in some instances it can be, but I can promise that you won’t miss those people at all. I believe in karma, and when you start feeding the good karma in your life, it’ll pay you right back.

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Thanks for the Memories

Earlier this evening, while sharing a homemade pizza with my parents, I learned some sad news about a friend of mine from high school. A couple of weeks ago, while she and her husband of four years were having dinner (as they do every night), he casually mentioned, as if having a normal conversation, that he no longer saw a future with her and didn’t want to be married anymore. That night, he packed his things and moved out.

While devastating for my friend (especially because she is thousands of miles away on the east coast, far removed from family and really any friends), I realized how lucky she is to have such a great relationship with her family, even if they are so far away from her.

While we all know by now how much I believe in a woman’s independence, I do, however, believe that there is someone out there that is right for me – and had that someone pulled that kind of BS on me, I would be so, SO grateful that I have such a wonderful network of family and friends to keep me going through such a difficult time.

With the holidays literally just around the corner, and with a day devoted to giving thanks just a mere handful of hours away, I thought it appropriate to send out a little blast to the people in my life who make every day worth living. To my family and friends – I just wanted to say thank you. Thank you for the endless love and support and for always believing in me even when at some points I didn’t even believe in myself. Thank you for lifting me up when I was down and making me laugh when I wanted to cry. Thank you for always encouraging me and pushing me to do and be my very best. Life truly is better when you surround yourself with good and positive people. I am so very lucky to have the best family and friends that a girl could ever hope for.

And, while we’re here, to the people who are no longer a part of my life (for one reason or another) – thank you for helping to shape me into the person I am today. Without whatever drama or problems you may have caused me, I never would have learned from the situations and realized that the things I thought I wanted out of life were actually not what I wanted out of life. I am who I am today, and I’ve bettered myself thus far because of all of you who tried to bring me down. So thank you for making me realize that I am a better person than I was allowing myself to be. Thank you for making me realize that my initial path in life wasn’t so bad after all.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you who might happen to come across this post. You should always be grateful for the people in your life, but take special care to thank those loved ones this week. Whether your family is made up of blood or just people that are close to you, family is family. Family is forever. And blood is thicker than water.

Season of Love

Okay, so it’s not much of a season – more of a day – Valentine’s Day. But it’s based on love, all the same.

And I don’t know about you, but Valentine’s Day always manages to remind me of how lucky I am to have certain people in my life. I have spent 99% of my Valentine’s Days as a single girl, so for me this Hallmark holiday really just represents the importance of loving the people that matter most to me. That’s not to say that I don’t love them the other 364 days of the year, but with a holiday based solely on reminding people you love them by showering them with gifts, it’s impossible to overlook the important ones in my life who truly allow me to shine.

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I recently (and currently) have been dealing with a rough patch in my life. While it does bring me down every once in a while, and while it truly tests my strength both as a human and as a woman in her late twenties, I know that I will survive and come out on top. And the reason I know this is because I have incredible people in my life, despite a certain individual who tried to alienate me and isolate me from them. Without them, I know that I alone would not have the willpower or the yearning to get through a lot of the things I come across in my life. And while I believe that it is important and empowering to do things solo (if you couldn’t tell from some of my other posts, I’m a HUGE advocate of individuality), I am finding that there certainly is power in numbers.

And so, despite all of my female empowerment posts, it is time, ladies, to realize that there is also power in friendship and family. Whether or not you have family by blood, having someone or a group of someones that are “family” to you is extremely important.

I don’t believe in God. I believe in the Earth evolving. And evolution, unfortunately, has bred some wacko people who every day walk among us. Some of us, also unfortunately, cross paths with them and are forced to overcome obstacles in their lives that they never even thought they would have to. It is in these times that the people who truly matter will support and defend you. It is in these times that we truly need a support group and a family to back us up. Those of us that have love, and have love above all other things, will make it through. Survival of the fittest. Sadly, so will the crazies.

Darwin broke it down so well for us. And I must say that using animal analogies in this situation suits perfectly. The crazy wack jobs out there are the scavengers. They are the rats, the crabs, the seagulls of the world – the animals that will do anything and eat anything in order to survive. And we, the people with the families and friends and loved ones to turn to, we are the whale pods, the gazelles, the lion prides in the Sahara Desert. We will prevail, we have love, we have strength, we have power. Nothing and nobody will stop us. The only thing that EVER stands in our way is ourselves.

THIS is what Valentine’s Day brings forth in my mind. This is what I think about on the 14th of February every year. I don’t think about how sad I am that I’m not getting chocolates or flowers (because, frankly, I hate chocolate and I hate flowers). I don’t feel sad that I don’t have a boyfriend or a significant other to share a silly, fake holiday with. No.. I think about the REAL loved ones – the people I’m close to, that I’m in touch with every single day. The people who would truly break my heart if they decided to no longer be a part of my life.

I encourage all of you out there to take this time of year to truly appreciate the people closest to you. Even your pets (if you have them). They bring us a joy every single day that even no human could bring. A simple little goldfish brings peace and serenity. The lick from our dog or a sweet “meow” from our cat as we walk in the door after a long day just makes our hearts melt and the stresses of the day fall away. Regardless of what the holiday has always represented (at least, in America), Valentine’s Day is really about appreciating and loving everyone who has always, ALWAYS been there for you, and everyone who always will be.

So, if any of my friends or family are reading this, thank you for being here for me. I couldn’t make it through this crazy, beautiful life without any of you. I love you all to the moon and back (I know, so cliche, but it IS Valentine’s Day after all ;)).