Ever since my birthday, and the dreaded "birthday backache," I've been feeling a little off kilter.
It was almost as though the time change and the shorter days and decreased sunshine forced me into a kind of hibernation mode. I could feel myself turning inward. My ability to reach out, and even to get out and visit with friends and family, which is usually such a pleasure for me, was taking a backseat to my need to preserve what energy I had for the day to day business of living. I was wrapped up in my own head and quite preoccupied with my own little world.
This isn't an ideal space for me to be in. While I realize that there is an element of self-preservation about my particular form of hibernation, it's hard not to feel a little guilty about it. I don't like feeling ungenerous and stingy with my affection. Plus, I just don't like spending that much time and energy wrapped up in my own little world. I mean, I can only stand so much of myself, you know what I mean?
So this had been going on for a good couple of weeks. Generally, I sort of slowly feel the effect of this funk wearing off. I can feel myself slowly thawing out as my usual enthusiasm for life lights up again.
But a couple of days ago, I received some news that jarred me, rather abruptly and painfully, out of my self-preservation mode. There's nothing like knowing that one of your dearest friends is experiencing a devastating loss to drag you out of the cave of your own self-involvement. Hearing of her loss almost instantly shifted my life into perspective again. She needs me. And I need to be there for her.
As I was running yesterday (my first run in almost two weeks!) I sort of felt like I was in training. And not for a road race. I actually felt like I was in training to make sure my friendship muscle was in good working order. I was actually making lists inside my head of things I needed to do to be the best friend I could be. Lindy, I said to myself, you've gotta make sure you exercise regularly, eat right and get enough rest so you can be in top form. Clear your mind and open your heart, Lindy, so you can really be present.
And while I felt a little silly making these lists I realized that it's worth it. It's worth some effort to think about the kind of friend, or the kind of person, I want to be. These connections we have with each other are really the most important things we have. We honor each other, and ourselves, by sharing each others lives. By taking care of each other, we also take care of ourselves. And if that isn't worth a little work, I don't know what is.