Month: January 2021

MIA again

MIA again

I did it again.

Another important event and I missed it. My nephew got married Saturday and while the family was enjoying his special day, I was eating Pop-Tarts at my desk. This scene has been replayed countless times in my life.

Now, I can blame the pandemic — in part — this time. But that wouldn’t be completely true. Sure, people being sick and the fear of catching coronavirus factored heavily in the decision this time. In fact, it was the main reason. Unfortunately, there hasn’t been a pandemic all my adult life, so I can’t use that as the excuse for all the other times.

I have missed so many birthdays, anniverseries, holidays, family gatherings and other important events that I have lost track. The last month or so has been especially hard as it seems that work has trumped every important event on the calendar. And sadly, those are days I will never get back. No matter how much I promise to make the next special event, I can’t go back and retrieve all the ones I missed.

Yes, I am part of a profession in which the hours stink, the product must always come out and there often is more work than people to do it. And, yes, I am wired in such a way that I will never say no and always sacrifice myself for the good of the company. Because of this, I am going to miss important events. Bottom line is I just don’t stick up for myself.

When you are person who always seeks to make others happy, the fear of disappointing them often outweighs your own wants and needs. But here is where I have a problem — I am not only putting the benefits of others before my own; I am putting them before my family. And that’s just wrong. Yes, I need to work and provide for my family. But something tells me they might just rather have me around for life’s important moments than have money in the savings account.

I have this burning desire to be a provider. I am consumed by the need to have enough money in the bank to pay all the bills with a little left over for some fun. But when will there be time to enjoy it if I am always doing something to earn it? Will my family really care if there is money in the bank if I’m not there to be part of their special moments? The two sides of the battle constantly war in my soul and truth be told, there is no winner.

Many of us struggle with this age-old dilemma — responsibility vs. fun and enjoyment. But too much of one is not healthy for your soul or your back account. You have to put aside life’s frivolous pleasures in order to be a responsible member of society. But there are also times you need to leave work at the office and have some fun. When your days are over, it will be your family and friends who remember you, not the person who’s shift you covered at work.

So, if you are like me, remember that if you don’t look out for yourself no one else will. Set priorities and boundaries — and keep them! Sure, some people may get a bit upset with you for not working for them, but your family will thank you for it. And you just might thank yourself for being at the events that make life special.

Year of friendship – I hope

Year of friendship – I hope

Ask me to come up with one positive from 2020 and it’s going to take me a good long while to answer. Sure there were some fun times, laughs and smiles, but for the most part the year was one to forget.

It wasn’t just about COVID-19 and being forced to live in a way that I never wanted. It’s more than seeing new friends suffer the physical effects of the coronavirus and the emotional toll we all faced. It wasn’t just missing out on all the things life has to offer that we took for granted until we couldn’t do them anymore. It was those things and so much more.

One of the most painful parts of the year was coming to the realization that the friends who got me through my youth and young adulthood are no longer here. Not literally, although I have lost a few over the past several years. These friends have grown distant, in part because I moved. But the bigger reason is as I have struggled through internal battles I have pulled away from many people that once meant a great deal.

At a time when I should have been relying on those closest to me, I went through the journey almost alone. I was embarrassed that I was not the person I appeared to be on the outside. I was ashamed that I wasn’t as strong as some thought I was. I was scared that others would see me as weak. At the end of the day, I just didn’t want anyone to know what I was going through, so I traveled alone.

I know that many of those friendships may never be repaired. That is the result of the choices I have made and I have to be willing to accept that. I am hoping some of those dear friends are waiting for me to reach out and will embrace me when I do. And believe me, I want to do so — and I need to. I never once took my friends for granted; I just didn’t want them to think of me as something other than the person they remembered.

So as we limp into 2021 still facing a great deal of uncertainty and pain, I am going to see what I can do about being a better friend — a better friend to those who have been with me in the past and to those I have yet to meet. The year ahead will be difficult. There is still a great deal of unknown in what lies ahead, but I am ready to press on — this time with more people along on the journey. I certainly can’t promise to be strong, brave or transparent but going to try to do better than what I have done of late. Praying and hoping that all of us will have a better new year — one filled with love and friendship.