March 17, 2021 – Good friends are hard to find.

Before I begin, I just have to make a few announcements. First of all, Happy St. Patrick’s Day! For all of you folks that look forward to your annual green beer, today’s the day! Second of all, I wanted to let all of you know that I have officially published 170 posts (in 170 days). With my track record, that’s nothing short of miraculous. Third of all (and the most exciting news), as of today I have 200 followers! Thank you so much for taking the time out of your day to check out my content, it means so much to me. It really does! Oh! I just remembered one more thing, if you live in the United States and are eligible for another stimulus payment (and receive your tax refunds via direct deposit), the money is supposed to be deposited today! Yay!! Now that I’ve got all of the announcements out of the way, I should probably get down to the nitty-gritty, and that happens to be all about people we all need in our lives, friends.

I have mentioned before that I have a few, but not many. All told, there are less than 10. I actually had lunch with one of the 10 today and it was delightful (as always). When I first met her, I felt like a crewmember on a ship out at sea in the dark of night (looking for land), and she was the lighthouse. I’d had a couple rough months (after getting laid off from my job) and could really use a friend. Where I live, a group of artists get together every Tuesday morning and paint together in a large, indoor space which is located right next to an art supply store. I hadn’t gone previously because I was always at work, but once that was no longer a concern, I decided to give it a shot. Once I arrived, I took a seat across the table from my soon-to-be friend and right away we hit it off! She had a lightness about her that’s very welcoming, she’s also very quirky, sweet, and humble. As the painting session was wrapping up, I asked if she would be interested in having lunch afterward and she agreed.

Over lunch, our conversation ebbed and flowed. It was easy and natural. There were no awkward pauses and nothing was off-limits. I’ve never met anyone and had things fall into place so effortlessly. We talked about anything and everything and the time flew by. It was fascinating to discover how much we had in common. Prior to getting married, we both ‘sowed our oats’ and then some. It’s comforting to meet someone else who was a bit of a wild child before settling down. Of course, we had much more than that in common. We’ve both had long, lasting marriages with many speed bumps along the way, our kids are about the same age, and our value systems are very similar. Emotionally, she and I are about even when it comes to being overly-sensitive. She is also an artist and writer (like me), and just happened to move here with her husband the exact month and year that my husband and I did. Weird!

Did we exchange numbers at the end of the meal? You’d better believe it! I actually had high hopes that our husbands would hit it off and we could do a lot more stuff as couples but that didn’t work out so well. By the way, if you happen to be one of those lucky couples who have found another couple that is compatible (and I’m not talking about people that are into kinky stuff), consider yourself incredibly fortunate! It is rare for both ‘other halves’ to get along. In our case, I had hoped to find another couple that also enjoyed hiking and getting together for game nights as well as meals out. It was pretty clear after one meal that my husband and her husband were never going to be buddies. It’s unfortunate because neither one of them has any guy friends here. I have to give my husband credit, he has tried. His attempts never seem to result in anything lasting, unfortunately. I wish he had at least one or two, but as you probably know, good friends are hard to find.

In fact, good friends are extremely hard to find, especially as we age and get more set in our ways. The fact that I ‘found’ my wonderful friend ‘later in life’ is pretty substantial! The fact that we’re still friends? Well, I wanted to spend a little more time talking about that today because I think for any relationship to last, both parties have to make an effort. It cannot be all one or the other. I have parted ways with many people in the past for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it’s my choosing and sometimes it’s theirs. The one thing I have come to realize over the years, is that for relationships to thrive and last, there has to be give and take. By that, I do not mean one person does all the giving and the other does all the taking. No, each person must do both for the relationship to be successful. When people think of the word ‘give’, they often associate it with material things but that’s not entirely true.

‘Giving’ can be done in countless ways and doesn’t require spending a ton of money (if any at all). Taking the time to reach out to a friend is one way to ‘give’. That can be done by picking up the phone and placing a call, texting, sending a letter or a card, or meeting up in person. Your time is one of the most valuable things you can give. You can always ‘sweeten the deal’ by bringing them flowers or chocolate or ‘getting the check’ from time-to-time. Don’t have the money to spend on a bouquet or a box of chocolates or lunch for two? Have you heard of the saying ‘it’s the thought that counts’? For most, one rose is just as meaningful as a dozen, one luxurious Godiva chocolate bar is just as meaningful as a whole box, and a lunch ‘in’ is just as meaningful as a lunch ‘out’. Yes, if you don’t have the funds to treat your friend to lunch, you can always invite them over and prepare them something from your kitchen. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that!

Today, my friend did all of the giving and I did all of the taking (despite my protests). I owe her ‘big time’. For a late birthday celebration, she treated me to lunch, made me a one-of-a-kind book/card, and gave me one of her original pastel paintings (already framed and matted). It was beyond generous! I already have the painting up on the wall and I am still processing the beautiful words she wrote in the book/card (I’m not sure what to call it because it’s a card but it’s 20 pages long and has writing & illustrations on both sides of each page). I’m not quite sure how I’m going to ‘match’ her generosity but I have a few months to prepare so hopefully I will be able to come up with something that helps her to see how much she means to me by then. I cannot imagine her not in my life, she is so lovely and fun and ‘real’. I don’t think it was a coincidence that we both happened to show up for the art session on the same day. Had I not dragged my carcass out of bed and made a point to ‘show up’, I would be telling a very different tale today.

That’s another thing I believe is instrumental in finding friends, if you desire to have them in your life, it is necessary to ‘show up’. You cannot sit in your room or apartment or house and expect people to come to you. You have to get out and do things in order to meet people (potential friends). If you like to paint or hike or fish or dance or run or work with clay or play cards or ride your bike or whatever it is you like to do, there are others out there just like you (I guarantee it). As hard as it may be, you have to ‘put yourself out there’ if you ever want to meet other people. Let’s face it, we all need friends. Life isn’t an easy journey and there’s no reason to go it alone if you don’t have to. Thanks so much for stopping by! I’m no poet laureate or anyone with significant credentials to speak of but I do enjoy the opportunity to share stories about my life and family or to just make simple random observations. If all goes well and I haven’t run you off, I trust you will return tomorrow as will I.

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