Bob Wheeler passed away suddenly on Thursday. I never met him, but he was one of those people you just knew was making a difference out in the world. Smart and strong and inspirational. A community is in mourning.
I've been thinking a lot, even before this, about those in my life. Friends. Family. Old and new.
But mainly, those I've lost touch with. The once-besties, now facebook friends. Those I used to share every aspect of my daily life. Then slowly it was weekly re-caps. Then a phone call every now and then. When there is too much time between, when everything is blurred into boring consistency and there is nothing to say. You "like" a post. Maybe reference an old memory. But otherwise, they are gone.
I do this. I make this happen. I am responsible. I fail to keep up. I fail to reach out. I let you slip away.
Even now, my friends know this. They text or call now and then to make sure I'm alive. Because unless I have a reason... plans or parties or questions about something... I don't keep up. I don't ask.
And I do the same with family. Particularly extended family. I intend to be better. I want to call. To make those connections stronger. But I don't. Life gets in the way. Work stress. To-do lists. Relaxation. None of them include just a simple phone call to someone I care about.
I am not proud of this. I know how to fix it. (Pick up the phone, stupid.) I even see how I do it.
For the most part, I guage friendship on the Daily. The Daily is the sense we have of each other's daily life. At any given moment, where would you be? What would you be thinking about? What are your concerns for the day? Where do you work, live, shop? Who do you interact with?
I had a friend in college. I would have considered him my best friend, had I had any sort of Daily for him. But he was a free spirit. No sleep cycle. No specific circle of friends. I never had any sense of him, beyond my own interactions with him.
For some reason, having a Daily for a friend is important to me. Makes me feel connected and close. But I think it also destroys my friendships when the Daily deteriorates. Maybe there is little else to stand on - either because there just isn't, or because I haven't made the effort to push beyond.
Some of my friendships were never that way. They were casual and close, or deep connections without the need for daily maintenance. Never intending to become intense friendships, never being built up to have me disappoint them. But there were all too many that crashed and burned, that went by the wayside because I didn't know how to carry them into another part of my life.
So, to Kris and Brigette and Michael and Jennifer and Jeannette and David and Sarah and Erin and Nancy and Callie and Larry and Alicia and Jen and Moriah and Beth and Johnny and Jacqui and Annette and Stacie and the countless others... I am sorry. I am sorry for my failures. I am sorry to have left you. I am sorry if I ever do in the future. You are kind souls, spirited women, brave men, intelligent creatures, and wonderfully flawed human beings that deserve the devotion of a good friend, through thick and thin, boring and dramatic.
I don't feel worthy. And yet I can imagine that the joys of friendship could be more than I expect if I only made the effort. I may get there yet.
This blog is about choices. The choices we make. For too long I've made the choice to watch good people walk away. I'm not saying that it stops now. I'm not saying I will change overnight, spend 3 hours a week calling friends and family to catch up. I have no specific goal to achieve.
But I am calling attention to this. Calling myself out, publicly. Bringing this to mindfulness. And maybe turn this Able-Hearted Girl into one worthy of being your loved one.