How is your social life? How are your relationships with other people? This was another category of discussion and dissection that we went through at the Conscious Growth Workshop I attended back in January. (This is another entry that I’ve been trying to write for awhile, for which I have had a hard time finding the right words.)
I remember back during the spring semester of 2005 when I studied abroad in Perth, Australia.
During that time, I met a lot of people, of many different backgrounds. I loved it! I remember trying to count them all, and thinking, “I wonder how many other people I know can say they made XX new connections already this year?”
I imagined those people who work in the same job day in and day out, seeing the same people all the time. The doorman, receptionist, coworkers, lunch server, janitor, biker on the street. Nothing out of the ordinary, nobody new. Year after year after year. I was grateful I wasn’t in that kind of situation. I felt special and blessed to have formed so many different relationships and to constantly be meeting new people.
Since then I know I’ve met a number of people, but I don’t feel like it has been on any large scale for a long time. Now, this year, I am feeling that way again, and this time I feel like the connections I’ve made are on a deeper level, which is really exciting.
Part of this is due to the Conscious Growth Workshop in Las Vegas.
There, I formed what I believe are some lasting friendships, as well as some really great acquaintances and others who I would love to get to know better. And then since hitting the road almost 6 weeks ago, going couchsurfing, and meeting up with random strangers, I have met and renewed relationships with over 30 people! (Think about it. That’s a lot, considering these are people I’ve spent significant time with, not just a “hello” “good-bye” meeting.)
I realize I love meeting people, specifically positive, open, supportive, adventurous, creative, musical, and intelligent ones. Everyone has multiple stories to tell, and I could listen for hours to what other people have experienced. (In fact, I HAVE listened for hours!)
With my background, I could never imagine some of the things that other people have gone through, including: going from a drunk stoner living with an abusive partner to a clean, smart, interesting, Christian college student studying art education; being a professional photographer who trashed all photos and negatives and sold all camera equipment, only to buy more and start fresh years later, only to trash everything again, and get back into it again, years later; hanging ones’ child from a tree in order to collect the insurance money; playing the most exciting games of Bingo you can ever imagine, which includes riots and people standing on tables ripping their shirts off.
These stories and much more I have listened to in recent weeks. I only lament I don’t have a better memory for this. I’ve already forgotten over half of what I’ve heard.
So back to the social life and relationships aspect. I’d say my social life right now is very active and exciting. It’s easy, as I am traveling from place to place specifically to meet up with certain people.
I can say with confidence that for me, this is a path with a heart!
As far as relationships go, I’ll quote an over-used phrase: “Variety is the spice of life.”
I have a lot of friends from way back who are married and have kids, so I don’t necessarily have a ton in common with them right now. But, in my opinion, that is no reason to dump them and find new friends. The same goes with my relationships with my family members.
Four out of us five oldest kids are married (me being the exception), and all have different lifestyles from construction in Alaska to farming in Minnesota to schooling in Michigan to doing who-knows-what in Oklahoma. And me, of course, bumming around the country incessantly. These relationships, combined with the new relationships I’ve formed, keep things interesting for me, because I am able to relate on different levels to all my friends and family.
Overall, I wouldn’t consider any of these relationships harmful, hurtful, or disempowering. Again, just because there may be areas where we disagree, or things we don’t have in common, I love these people and want to keep in touch. (And yes, I do make a conscious effort to call my friends and family on a fairly regular basis. Phone tag is my favorite game!)
I don’t have what you’d call an “intimate” relationship with anybody, but I’m fine with that for now. As many of you know, Tom and I broke up last December, after dating for 5 years. It was not an easy decision, but it was mutual and we are still friends. It’s not in me to just throw way a great friendship, simply because we have decided we are on different life paths. We still have many common interests, a lot of great history together, and still care about one another, so it has been easy to continue our friendship. (Note to unbelievers: It is absolutely possible to be friends with an “ex.” I don’t believe it’s for everyone, but it works for us.)
Social Life and Relationships. To sum it up: for me, this is an area of my life where I feel extremely abundant right now. I honestly believe that were I to fall upon hard times, any number of people would be supportive, take me in, listen to me, help me out, and just be there, until things got better for me.
My shortcoming? I probably don’t tell you all enough how much I love you and care about you. Thank you so much!
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