Staying power: 9 signs of a good friend

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Surround yourself with those
who only lift you higher.
~ Oprah Winfrey

Over the past two decades, I’ve come to understand there are friendships for different seasons in our lives (see https://midlifemess.com/friends-for-a-season/). In the cited blog, the writer says that realizing a friendship season is over and letting go is one of the hardest things to do. Plus, a friendship season may not end at the same time for both people. I think it’s important to recognize that as we grow—and our lives change—so will our tribe. Some friendships may even come full circle after time and distance apart. In whatever season you’re planted, however, according to author Stormie O’Martian, a good friend, “tells you the truth in love, gives you sound advice, refines you, helps you grow in wisdom, stays close to you, loves you and stands by you, helps in times of trouble, is not rebellious and is not often angry.” And remember: it goes both ways.

What do your friendships reflect about you?

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1 way to squeeze the best out of life

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They say that “attitude is everything.” Although I don’t know who they are, I do know truth resides in those three words. Case in point: As it relates to my day job, certain pet peeves are inherent in the publishing industry. For instance: missed deadlines, unresponsive contacts and broken commitments—to name a few. However, I’ve begun to look at these examples not as “thorns in my side” but as challenges to motivate rather than frustrate. Surprisingly, this new mindset works! Also, pertaining to my household finances, I’ve been asked to take a more vested interest in our expenses and investments, as well as the annual tax preparations. This year, instead of approaching the impending weekend with an overarching sense of dread, I planned several fun diversions to break up the monotony of pulling together the requisite materials. This resulted in a productive and enjoyable two days laden with laughter and goodwill. The time will pass regardless. Why not squeeze the best out of it?

How’s your attitude?

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Holy crap says it all

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Holy crap says it all

 

Holy crap is my new favorite catch phrase: A friend in Minnesota texts me a picture of a snow storm (I live in Arizona): holy crap. We’re already more than 11/12 into the New Year: holy crap. Yes, I’m over a half century young: holy crap! Tick tock tick tock. I ran across a noteworthy older lady while traveling in January. She didn’t know me from Adam, yet shuffled right up into my space and proceeded to spew out my life story in a nutshell. She wrapped up the message in a neat bow when she informed me I’m a beautiful woman, but wound so tight that I’m not living. Holy crap. Okay, everything said lady gushed forth rang volumes of truth. Maybe when a complete stranger sees that which you daily turn a blind eye to, it’s time to bite the bullet and eradicate each cliché and excuse to do the thing your heart implores of you. Holy crap.

What ‘catch phrase’ seems to capture your reality?

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It’s not your job to fix it

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Not your job to fix

A couple of months ago, I was chatting with a friend about someone close to me who is unhappy with life in general. I know I haven’t always made it easy for this person, so I told my friend I have my work cut out for me. And then my friend said something mind blowing: “That’s not your job. They need to work it out on their own.” What?! You mean I’m only responsible for fixing myself? Talk about liberating. Although I already knew this truth, deep down, the validation was good to hear. Once again, we can only control ourselves and our response to whatever is going on around us. Even though I’ve got a half century of living under my belt, the personal assignments I’ve engaged in daily over the past several weeks have taught me a lot—mostly that I still have quite a bit to learn about life. But at least I’m learning.

What is something you recently learned about yourself, or about life?

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All things are possible

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possibilites

Miracles occur daily. From the sun rising to setting to opening our eyes each morning, we witness marvels on a day-to-day basis. Even the seed of hope we plant in our hearts—to bring about transformation in our lives and the lives of others—is a miracle waiting to happen. My post, Be the change, focuses on being what we want in order to manifest more of what we desire; i.e., if we covet more love, we must be more loving, etc. During the past four weeks, as I’ve bid adieu to my forties and jumped headlong into the fifties, I’ve engaged in a personal makeover of sorts. It entails reflection, prayer and specific assignments that challenge me daily. In the process, I’ve discovered forgiveness, healing and growth, as well as an understanding that, as we change, it’s possible to effect change around us. But this requires living with intention and being true to ourselves. Always.

What possibilities do you hope come to pass in the New Year?

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Purging and prioritizing: housekeeping for the soul

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regrets mistakes memories

Hard, this life thing. Over the past few weeks I’ve engaged in significant housekeeping tasks that, below the surface, denote a clean slate—a ‘starting over’ in practice and in theory. On the home front, I’ve tackled clutter and tossed what is no longer necessary, bagged up things to be sorted through eventually and donated items I hope might bless others. My personal life also experienced a collective loss, which has become the catalyst toward a sense of peace and healing—an opportunity to put my priorities in right order, to live with intention instead of allowing life to happen to me. Every regret or mistake I’ve made is a lesson learned, a temporary memory purged much like photos that fade over time or are deleted off a hard drive. And then replaced by the truth of knowing I’m finally on the right path as I leave behind my self-centered ways and prepare to step into my fabulous new life.

How do you ‘get over’ regrets or mistakes?

Rediscovering our personal truths

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personal truths

This week while I wrapped up a work project, I rediscovered six personal truths that make me tick: 1) I do what I love. If I ever again must be reminded of the answer to the question, ‘Am I in the right field, career-wise?’ I need only recall the Adrenalin rush I experience each time I write. Now I want more. 2) I practice self-love. Self-love and cutting ourselves slack don’t necessarily mean the same thing. A glass of wine to relax, yes; chased by frosted Saltine crackers to de-stress, no. 3) The perfect time to start something never arrives. I am ready to take the next step toward living Today. 4) No (wo)man is an island. I desire to fellowship with others, to encourage and share accountability. And my editor usually knows best. 5) Better late than never. All good things take time. But deadlines are still important. 6) I am good enough. Yet there will always be room for improvement.

What personal truths have you rediscovered?

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Easier said than done

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ID-100259561

That old saying in the title rings spot-on for me now more than ever since I committed to living my life Today (see “It’s just the beginning”). I’ve begun the process by initiating dialog, albeit painful, forcing me to examine my heart and my motives and to cull the truths from the lies about who I am and what I believe about myself. It feels like I’ve been squeezed through an emotional wringer over the past few days as I shine a light on the darkness and examine my character. I hope it hasn’t always been about my desires, my needs—but rather a wanderlust not to travel so much as to explore and learn, to grow into the most authentic version of the reflection I see in the mirror each day. Ultimately, I know what I must do. Yet that’s when it’s easier said than done. It’s scary… exhilarating. And I feel like I’m running out of time.

When is it easier said than done for you?

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Taking stock

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Taking stock

[Image credit: Pong]

From the media, to Washington, to Hollywood and society as a whole, many of us need to take stock and ask ourselves if we are living authentic lives, or distorting the truth of who we really are. Do we conform to ideals that don’t match our own in order to “fit in?” Or do our lives reflect our core beliefs? The other day I reacted to a situation in a way that is contrary to the person I strive to be. Obviously, we are human and not always going to put our best foot forward. But it made me take stock of how I represent myself to those around me—whether my family, friends or people who pass in and out of my life. Do I treat them in the same fashion I want to be treated? Am I honest with not only myself, but with my neighbor? And can I truly say: what you see is what you get.

What will others learn from observing your life?

With a little help from my friends

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Help from my friends

[Image credit: Master isolated images]

Friends are the mirror reflecting the truth of who we are.
~ Unknown

Sometimes being a friend means mastering the art of timing.
There is a time for silence.
A time to let go and allow people to hurl themselves into their own destiny.
And a time to prepare to pick up the pieces when it’s all over.
~ Gloria Naylor

I’ve written about my friends in past posts.  They truly are the mirror that reveals many of my flaws, but one that also magnifies those qualities which drew us to together in the first place.  Naylor’s quote goes beyond reflection into the hard core stuff — when we need a chance to flounder as we think and weigh and try again.  We don’t need judgment or “I told you so.”  We need someone who stands back and allows us to live and make mistakes.  But who will also be there to apply glue when it’s broken.

Are you the kind of friend who’s mastered the art of timing?

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