Actual Self-Care in 2020

Does the impending arrival of a new year make you introspective? Do you think about past years, what they held, and what you hope to do differently in the new one? Are there things you’re still trying to sort out in order to avoid future train wrecks?

No? Just me, huh. Well, this week as 2020 bears down on us I’ve been trying again to make sense out of the whole idea of friendship. You’d think I’d have that down by now, but the script got flipped a while back in a way that’s made me examine the parameters ever since. An introvert will survive!

I had a friend who was a few years older, half a dozen I think, an intriguing woman, large and in charge, very generous, well traveled, had a million stories to tell. She could be a little overwhelming, liked her own house and parties best, her own food, which was always creative and distinctive, her own stories, her own family, her own interesting life. She genuinely cared about yours too, she just had a hard time staying with any of it for too many minutes at a time, she had so much to tell you. There were lots of parties, lunches, dinners, evenings, game nights, gatherings of every sort in her place, where she was always the pivot, cooking, pouring wine, hostessing, keeping the vibe going.

She loved Kim – he could do no wrong, which I think was her take on beautiful men in general. He got her, far better than she ever knew, so they danced that dance. She emailed me from time to time with little things she needed him to do and he always showed up, then stayed for a bit to hear her worries and put them to rest if he could. We called an ambulance for her more than once, and through the ups and downs over the years a sort of easy relationship grew up among the three of us, although never completely on an even playing field. She somehow came from another time and a different world.

Our friend had health problems that started infringing on her social life in ways that frustrated her and made her feel isolated and lonely, although her days were still a social whirl compared to my chosen solitude. She began to urge me to spend a couple of mornings a week in her place, drinking coffee and talking, just girl stuff. She knew about the fibromyalgia and the back pain, et.al., and that I didn’t really “do” mornings, but I could come in my PJs if I wanted and it was just down the hall, and I’d be drinking coffee no matter what anyway, right?

There came a morning when it was an insult to my body to ask it to put one foot in front of the other, so I sat down and wrote her a cheery email full of girl stuff and all the news I could think of, and after touching on how I was feeling I said that my letter would have to take the place of a visit for that day, maybe for the week. But I didn’t apologize, the facts being what they were – it didn’t occur to me that I might need to.

Neither of us ever heard from her again.

When she moved away the following year, she found Kim to say goodbye. Nothing personal, just so long, be well.

A study in human nature?

I’ll have to look elsewhere to study friendship I think. Many months have passed but my sense of sadness hasn’t – it’s hard to reconcile the before with the after and make it all mean something. I can’t die for a very long time – I still have way too much to learn.

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Ready to leap?

Once again our little gaggle of planets have turned and rolled and done that thing they do that brings us to another trip around the sun, the great flaming Ra that keeps us just toasty enough to neither freeze nor fry if we have a lick of sense whatsoever, which every trip proves some do not, although many, sadly, don’t have a choice.

Now commences the ritual of preparedness for the arrival of another clean start – those things we do, the purging, the cleansing, the making room for the new. The things we swore this time last year we wouldn’t be staring at again, yet here they are, taking up space, morosely mocking us, flashing a hardly deserved middle finger since they were complicit in the fact of their existence. They called to us, those online purchases, with their suspect but irresistible sale prices. They cleverly rode in on invisible coattails, those ubiquitous email subscriptions that accumulate in stacks on the daily (!!). The paperwork we don’t need, don’t want, don’t have the energy to file but don’t quite possess the total abandon to toss – guess that’s never going away after all, despite our dedicated green-ness. Our shallowness would make me weep, but greater things preceded it and my tears are temporarily dry.

I digress, boys and girls, we’re vamping for 2020 and we’d best be ready – I heard on the interwebs it’s gonna be a lulu. But then, we’ve been training, so…

And what I DID NOT KNOW until this very moment as I was musing on a title, is that 2020 is a leap year, yes it is, so let’s all stay on our toes! Very best wishes to all as we say goodbye to the old we’re not keeping and hello to the new we’re welcoming. It comes to us every year, ready or not, so pull up your socks and let’s go!

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Waiting for the Wise Men

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Winter’s charms…

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Winnowing the Chaff

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