Thank You For Being a Friend

Thank you for being a friend… The first lines of the theme music for Golden Girls. I used to watch the show occasionally, enjoying the sassy banter and cutting edge humor coming from the sweet old ladies. Just the other day I realized something unsettling. When the show premiered, one of the GGs was younger than I am right now.

*gasp*

The others were older of course, by at least 10 years, but not Blanche. When I realized this, I spent some time hyperventilating, but after calming down I did take comfort in the fact that Blanche was a sexy beast.

The show was popular for a lot of reasons, but for me the most important appeal was the relationships between the women. Adult friendship, simple and complex, becomes more and more important as we grow into our golden years (which are still DECADES away, of course, but I like to plan ahead). Our kids grow up and fly the nest, making lives of their own. Our spouse, if we are lucky, can be one of our closest friends. But it is that intricate, beautiful coming together of fabulous women that fills me up and makes my heart sing.

Setting the clear intention last year to find likeminded friends, I realized the other night, as I ate deep fried pickles and drank beer with my “knitting” club, that my wishes had been fulfilled, and beyond my wildest dreams. My life has become rich and abundant with friends. Beautiful women gathering to laugh and talk, cry and hug, love and accept each other unconditionally. It is with our friends that we can drop the roles we play: Mom, Wife, Employee, Daughter… and simply be who we are.

I have been told that it is more difficult to make friends as we get older. A year ago I would have agreed with that statement. Today I would beg to differ. There are so many of us who are hoping to find each other. We just need to know where to look. Here are a few tricks I have learned along the way:

  1. Begin by saying yes. If you are invited anywhere to do anything, instead of caving to the lure of the sweatpants, Netflix and no bra, get dressed and go do the thing that you are invited to do. Put the effort to show up. Proximity is a breeding ground for friendships.
  2. Join stuff. Volunteer, sign up for a painting class, go to yoga, join a book club. There is a lot going on in every community. Put yourself out there and join things. You will meet so many new and interesting people that there are bound to be some kindred souls just waiting to be discovered.
  3. Step out of your comfort zone. Reach out to others. Invite someone for coffee. Go audition for community theatre. By being brave and stepping outside of the comfort zone, we are showing the Universe that we are making a concerted effort to create what we hope to see. The Universe is really great at meeting us more than half way. Taking steps in the direction of what we want always sets things in motion.
  4. Smile. You are beautiful when you smile. People are attracted to your gorgeous energy. By smiling you turn on your inner light so that others can really see you. Know that everything you are imagining is on its way to you now, so you have a very good reason to smile.

I love each circle of friends that I have. My book club, where we drink wine and rarely talk about books. My spiritual gang of fabulous, awakening souls. The Knitters who sometimes even remember to bring something to knit. The theatre types who bond so tightly during productions we feel like family. Old friends who have seen me through so many years of triumphs, tragedies and change. New friends who spend hours discovering each other’s stories. We cherish one another and shine brighter because we are together. Maybe we really are … the Golden Girls.

We’ve travelled down the road and back again. Your heart is true you’re a pal and a confidant.

Thank you for being a friend.

 

Cool feature image created by http://mcillustrator.deviantart.com/art/golden-girls-167641303

Lyrics quoted are from Andrew Gold’s Thank you for Being a Friend

I’ll Be There For You

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 Is there anything more fun and, let’s face it, accurate than a Facebook quiz?

Wait a sec… yeah you’re right.  There are lots of things more fun and accurate.  From predicting the time of our death (April 17, 2048) to letting us know who we were in a past life (Cleopatra) to telling us what kind of tree we are (Pink Dogwood) Facebook quizzes are typically a colossal waste of time and energy.

And yet… sometimes… I just can’t stop myself.

So when I see this quiz that will tell me which character from Friends I am I can’t resist.  I begin the quiz in earnest, answering each new question with as much insight and honesty as I can.  For years I have been convinced that I am Rachel. Carefree career gal who knows her own mind and can make it on her own, Rachel is Mary Tyler Moore for a new generation and I adore her.

I sure hope I’m Rachel!

But then I have to be honest with myself.  There is a whole lot of Monica in me.  A bit OCD with an insecure, awkward and overweight teenage girl living inside, I admit to liking things “just so” and will have trouble falling asleep if they are askew.   Also, I love to cook and get a bit obsessive with the preparation of feasts and such.

I bet I’m Monica.

And then there’s Phoebe.  Who am I kidding?  I channel dead people and believe that cats can communicate with me.  Plus I tend to make up weird song lyrics, mostly about bodily functions.  (I would expand on this, but might lose my PG rating. But seriously, I wrote one that is eerily similar to her classic “Little Black Curly Hair”).

So yeah, for sure.  I must be Phoebe.

When it comes down to it I can tell that I am a mix of all three.  The confidence that I lack as Monica I gain from my inner Rachel who knows I can do anything I set my mind to.  And the Monica in me keeps me organized and cleans my house, taming my inner control freak that really wants to be in charge of everything. Phoebe swoops in and my career path becomes all about Angels and Past Lives and crazy Woo Woo stuff.  Suddenly I am that crazy hippy chick who doesn’t seem so crazy anymore.

Yeah.  I’m Phoebe.

Or Monica.

Maybe Rachel?

I push the button that will finally, inexorably settle the dilemma once and for all: Click here for your results…..

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Yeah.  I’m Joey.

Apparently, Brenda doesn’t share food.

 How YOU doin’?

No Place Like It

“A forever home…”

A prayer, earnestly spoken one morning in the shower.  There’s something about the solitude and warm water that brings a certain clarity of mind and allows for better communication with the Spirit Team.  This particular request seemed to come out of nowhere and when I whispered the words I realized how much I meant them.  We’d been living in rental properties, waiting for our house in Cranbrook to sell and hadn’t put down roots yet in our new city, Kelowna.  A wanderer by nature I hadn’t even been aware that I was missing that sense of permanence having a “home” could create.  A quiet little prayer said with focused intention and clarity was about to change my life.

“Nothing is as powerful as an idea whose time has come.”  Victor Hugo

In 2011 we left our home in Cranbrook.  It had been a tough few years leading up to the move and as we drove out of town early that August morning I felt a profound relief and declared to my husband that I would never be back.  I was done with Cranbrook.  So much sadness, death, despair not to mention a giant nasty lawsuit were experienced in those few years leading up to our move and the idea of going where I had a clean slate and a fresh start was a huge relief.  To my mind, the well was poisoned.

So imagine my surprise 3 years later when that little prayer, whispered sleepily while standing in the spray of warm water, began a series of events that would lead us directly and quickly back to our little home town.

It began that very day.  It was a feeling.  A little flutter of fondness. A happy memory.  Huh.  Strange.  For 3 years I only ever thought of Cranbrook as the place I had escaped from,  a place where all of the horror lived, where friends died and pets died and trusts were betrayed.  I’d had 3 years away in a place where I could wrap myself in blissful anonymity and just live my life happily with my little family to keep me company.  I had insulated myself from everything.  Hadn’t I?

Before we moved away a good friend wrote me, “You know that you have lots of friends, real ones, in town. Don’t let the legalities generalize your feelings too much.”  That was some good advice and it came back to me then.  The fog of my own wrong thinking was lifting and all of the good stuff was returning to my mind.  Good friends, a great house, a beautiful location in the Rocky Mountains, a couple of decades of memories, (really freaking good memories) surfacing and shining light into that darkness I had created.

Happy thoughts began to build on themselves and that evolved into happy reminiscing with the family around the dinner table.  Then things really got rolling.  Transfers happened, the tenants in our house gave their notice and our daughter decided she would like to do her graduating year back at her old high school.    It all fell into place.  The perfect circumstances showed up at supersonic speed and suddenly we have the truck booked and are living amid a sea of boxes.

The past three years away I have learned a lot of things.  I learned that an escape does not equal a healing.  I learned that I can make friends and that they will not necessarily die on me.  I learned that I can count on my parents for anything.  And I learned that moving back does not mean  stepping backwards.  I look forward to both the new and the familiar and to reuniting with the amazing, patient friends we left behind but never, ever forgot.

All of this from a well intentioned prayer…. ‘a forever home’.  It is a powerful idea whose time has come.

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There really is no place like it.