The magic of friendship
As it’s the United Nation’s International Day of Friendship today, it got me thinking about the concept and the people. This picture is of me (I’m on the right!) with my oldest friend Caj (Caroline) who I’ve known since I was 4.
My friends are definitely one of the great joys in my life and, as my primary Love Language is “quality time” (see Gary Chapman’s The Five Love Languages for more on this), it’s important for my wellbeing that I make time for them.
It’s a funny thing though as, until quite recently, I’d kept my work life and home life separate, refusing to make friends at work – in a previous workplace we even used to joke about it.
When I left the company, one colleague even bought me a voucher for an afternoon tea for two, together with a note that said “can we be friends now?”*
*we’re still friends and manage to get together a couple of times a year.
So what changed?
I don’t really know to be honest! I guess I got a little older and began to feel more comfortable in my own skin. I found that I was prepared to put myself out there more, to try and make friends – confident that it would be OK.
Friends for a reason, friends for a season, friends for a lifetime.
I love this saying and realise that it’s absolutely true. I’m also lucky to have friends who have come into my life for a reason but have become friends for a lifetime – my favourite kind of friends are those who cross over and become more like family.
I’ve also learnt that it’s OK to make friends and to let them go, I don’t need to hold on to everyone!
When times are tough
The last few months have been tricky ones for our family. A combination of ill-health and children becoming teenagers have provided challenges that I couldn’t have faced alone. Thankfully, I’m not alone and I’ve been blown away by the amazing people who have been there for me.
From tearful phone calls with a lifelong friend when things felt too much, to a mum friend stepping in to have my son for a sleepover to give me one less thing to think about, to daily text check-ins from other lovely folk, I’m absolutely grateful for them all.
And what about Fresh Air Fridays?
Well, Fresh Air Fridays is kind of like the glue that sticks it all together for me.
I’ve not only developed some fantastic relationships as part of the community but I’ve also developed greater resilience – enabling me to manage whatever life throws at me, and to cope if a friendship ends!
I’ve also realised that it’s important to look after myself – one of our core themes is “Filling Yourself Up First” – and I now make time to catch up with my friends as I know this is good for my overall sense of wellbeing.
So, I’d invite you to spend some time in the week ahead thinking about the people you love, friends or family, and the value they add to your life. You might even want to let them know you’re thinking of them! 🙂