friendship


By Guest Blogger Kelly Duffy

“When you go through life, so sure of where you’re headin’, and you wind up lost, it’s the best thing that could have happened”

-Brad Paisley, “Find Your Self”

You may find this odd, but I wasn’t really a Brad Paisley fan until this morning. I found myself returning from the two hour marathon that is the morning drop off ritual (the two older to one school, the little guy to pre-school) and listening to the closing credits for Pixar’s’ “Cars”. Despite the fact that I’ve seen this movie close to a thousand times the song I quoted previously really jumped out at me. As a matter of fact the lesson of the entire film hit me powerfully right between the eyes. Who among us hasn’t veered off course because of detour signs somewhere in life?

One of the things I miss the most in life (besides a firm backside and my natural hair color) is the crystal clear vision I had of what I wanted for myself in the future. I was rock steady, unshakable in my convictions.  It was almost as if it was predetermined and nothing could get in the way. There was no self doubt, I was positively fearless. I can picture that young gal with her Pollyannish bravado just waiting to jump out into the world with her equally enthusiastic friends. “Here we go!” they all shout, knowing that with hard work and determination they would all arrive at their destination.

Cut to twenty years later and take a look at how many of us stuck to the original plan. Some of us are close, several are right on the mark, and most of us aimed high but didn’t hit the target. Let me preface this by letting you know that most of the women I spoke to were very honest about what they really wanted deep in their hearts. Even if that wish were as kooky as wanting to be a fairy princess, I let them run with it. How far away from the prize did we find ourselves? Let’s see.

I landed so far away from what I originally imagined that it could be said that I’m residing in a completely different universe. The plan I deviated from was not a realistic blue print by which to live a life.  When I was four, I desperately wanted to be a “drawer.” No, not the place you fold and place your socks, but someone who draws for a living. My mother was a frustrated artist (far more naturally talented than I’ll ever be) who chose motherhood and housewife duties over pursuing any kind of dreams she may have had.  When it came time to test my meddle, I gathered my best stuff, compiled a decent portfolio and prepared to submit it to the list of art schools my teachers had given me. Aghast, my parents discouraged this avenue and begged me to reconsider a four year liberal arts university. It was an easy choice given my expertise at quitting and the powerful influence of an overbearing mom and dad.  I still draw, but not with the passion I used to have. However I’ve gained some things I never imagined would be mine, a funny creative husband, a charming but sometimes challenging old house, three delightful (sometimes) kids, and two dogs and a guinea pig that screams. I feel happy, satisfied on most days and thankful that I have a life this full.

My friend, let’s call her Vicky, lived in a number of big cites after graduating from her very high falutin’ university. It was assumed she would go on and take the world of academia by storm, but she was presented with a whole host of issues that don’t usually plague the big brains. She was pregnant by her less than worthy boyfriend of two months.  Shocked we wondered how someone this smart, who was due to go to law school right after getting her master’s degree could have let this happen? I remember saying, “wow, if this can happen to her, then there really is no hope for the rest of us shmucks.” Last week I got a hold of her and posed the same question. Were there any regrets? Was she happy with what she had made of her life? The most surprising response came out of her mouth. “I wouldn’t have changed a thing, this is how it was meant to be and I wouldn’t have it any other way.” Wow.

My other friend, who we’ll call Barb, has had her future in her apparel since the first day of high school. It was going to be fashion or nothing at all. She made all the right career moves and was even able to dance around a high profile layoff and turn it around into an advantage. She never had time for a serious relationship and instead went through a series of men as quickly as she changed outfits. Later on, however she turned around and realized she was sneaking up on forty and there was no one to share all this blinding greatness with. In a year she managed to get herself fired again (sort of on purpose), dive headfirst into a relationship with a great guy, spend time enjoying herself and finally get married.  I asked her about regrets and she took a moment to think back over her life and finally said “I’m sorry we never got to start that girl band in high school”. Hmmm, okay.

So with all this hoopla over the unhappiness rates for women, I wonder to myself how many gals are satisfied with what life has handed them so far. How many obstacles and what appeared to be insurmountable road blocks have you pole vaulted right over to get and keep what you want? Life doesn’t always turn out the way you thought it would, but sometimes having poor aim isn’t such a bad thing.

Kelly Duffy

http://dufmanno.wordpress.com

Readers, tell us, did you stray from your path in life? Are you happy with how things are going? What did you learn?

Advertisements

So, our brains constantly torture us to the tune of ; I should be spending more time with my kids, cooking healthier meals, calling friends more regularly, returning emails, working harder, going to the gym more often, being nicer to people, coming home earlier from the office, baking more, eating better… Oh the Guilt! Oh the Guilt!

Actually, guilt does serve its purpose on occasion. It sometimes guides us when things go wrong in our lives, when we’re not working hard enough, or when we’ve done something wrong, for example. But us ladies truly take guilt to a whole new level. I would even go so far as to call it our disease.  We suffer from guilt about so many things. Instead of recognizing all the wonderful things we do for those around us, we let the things we CAN’T do completely overtake our mind. This is a sad thing ladies. Sad. But I will tell you, I suffer from this disease as well! And it’s chronic.

I sold my business three years ago to be home with my kids, because I was feeling so guilty leaving them all the time. Now, I feel guilty if I can’t be at all the carpool pickups for my little son. Or I feel guilty if I want to take time alone. I feel guilty if I miss a dinner with the kids due to a school meeting. I feel guilty if I go to the 7:30am kick boxing class. I feel guilty ALL THE TIME. And I don’t know why. After all, I think I’m a pretty good mom, daughter, and wife. I just can’t turn off that guilt switch.

So what is the solution? Many experts say we truly need to put ourselves and our needs first. To take that “Me time.” Haven’t we all heard “The first Love, Self love.” or “Happy Wife, Happy Life.” and “Happiness comes from within. First please yourself, and then you’ll be pleasing to others?”

Well that shit is darn easier said than done!!!

There is such a fine line between pleasing and nurturing ourselves, and being selfish. That’s at least where I and so many of you struggle. If I treat myself to an afternoon alone, am I a bad mother? If I leave the office too early, am I bad employee? If I leave my marriage without trying, did I give up too soon?The list is endless.

guilt

So, what do you do? Guilt can be very paralyzing and destructive. And the thing with guilt, is no one punishes you but yourself! Every woman deserves to be happy, and live their life to its maximum potential.

  • First, accept that you are human, and that you are always acting the best you can, at any given moment. Accept that humans fail and err, and all you can do is your best. Guilt keeps you stuck in the past, and doesn’t let you move forward. Let it go.  You’ll do better the next time.
  • This leads up to; if you made a mistake, learn your lesson and move forward. Learn to be resilient. It’s a process.
  • The “should-haves” cause tremendous guilt. Placing unrealistic expectations on yourself serves you no purpose other than to stress you out. This leads us back to learning to say no a little more, and saying it guilt free.
  • Don’t get sucked in when someone is trying to give you a guilt trip. For example, “Really don’t come if you don’t want to… Isn’t that too expensive for you?… You put your child in daycare after 3 months?… Shouldn’t you be home with your kids now?” Don’t even answer the question or you are being sucked in.
  • Remind yourself of ALL THE GOOD THINGS YOU OFFER TO THIS WORLD. Calm those negative and guilty thoughts. Seriously, the power of positive thinking is an incredible thing. You’re worth it. We’re all worth it. We all deserve a little “me time,” and deserve it guilt free.
  • And finally, stop asking yourselves, “What will the world think of me if I…” Stop caring what others think… you’ll see how much guilt dissipates once you stop caring about how the world views you. I know people who have mastered this art. They don’t give a sh*t what anyone thinks of them! And I tell you, they’re happy! Now, I’m not saying not to care or be accountable to your family and friends, but stop that need for external approval.

And stop living your lives the way OTHERS want or expect you to. And stop feeling guilty that you’re not perfect; my friends, neither are they!! Live your life according to your own values and beliefs. We are on this earth for a short time. Make is great.  Make it count.

xoxEDxox

Any of you have your own tips for calming the guilt in your brains? Share with our readers…

So you’re all caught up on the week:

It’s Saturday morning. Like every Saturday morning,  the calm and order that presided here Friday night has vanished into thin air.  Husband is asleep in son’s bed in peace and quiet. Boys getting riled up. Me the referee.  In fact, right at this very moment they’re physically fighting. My 2-year-old has taken off his diaper, so he is standing here in the nude (we are nudists in this house, btw) and shouting at the top of his lungs things I just don’t understand, with his lisp. I have my coffee and am sitting nearby in the office. Ohm.

Last night, I dragged my husband to see Julie & Julia. BIG MISTAKE. I think he was feeling guilty that he’ll be leaving me tonight to take my son instead of myself to the hockey game. So after a nice family dinner, he agreed to go. The movie for me; 2 hours of bliss. I laughed out loud during parts. I cried at parts. It was a feel-good movie, and quite touching. For my husband, sheer torture! I mean, there was fidgeting. Blackberry buzzing. He was flipping and flopping in his seat. He even had to leave a few times. I have to say, it’s probably the last time I’ll ever drag him again to a see a chick flick against his will. Ever!

Secondly, after my golf game yesterday, over lunch, my girlfriends and I started chatting about husbands and cheating. The girls said, “If my husband was cheating, I wouldn’t want to know.” I blurted out, “You wouldn’t want to know?!” And no, they wouldn’t want to know. I’m not going to go into more detail, and even though I understood where they were coming from, I found this odd. Please, if anyone knows my husband is cheating on me, I WANT TO KNOW. Please email me at the above address. Thank you kindly.

I also met with a web designer this week to try and improve the look of the Blog. My initial vision was to create a forum for you women to be able to vent and chat with other ladies in the same boats as yourselves. That should be up and running within the next few weeks. I am loving the blog. I love your emails and comments. Mostly good, a couple critical, but they all are important to me. Keep ’em coming, and don’t be shy to be the first to comment!

Finally, if any of you want to get together with me and a 2-year-old tonight, just give me a holler! If not, I’m thinking “Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs” at 5PM.

PS – Someone sent this to me a few weeks ago. Watch this. Anything is possible.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nz47-PtrAyw&feature=related

Happy Saturday!

xoxEDxox

Friends! I love my friends. Growing up as an only child was quite lonely. I had always wanted an older sibling, preferably an older brother. A brother to come home to who would beat me up, someone to try smoking with, and teach me the ropes in life. Well, no such sibling ever came before nor after me, so I made due with the next best thing… friends. Older friends, younger friends. I had my core group, but never stuck eclusively to them. I always had friends in many circles. Friends for “a reason and a season.” And it continued over the years. My high school friends, my college friends, my carpool friends, my golf friends, my work friends, friends through my children, my old friends, my new friends. I love them all. They all hold a very special place in my heart.

When thinking of the old ones, there’s nothing quite like your old friends. Your friends you have that history with… that connection with.Your best friend since elementary school. Your neighbour you grew up with that you still keep in touch with. You just have that bond, that deep history together.

 

Yet, as you’ve grown, you’ve made new friends along the way. And while you may have a past with old friends, new ones come into your life based on where you’re at right now.

For example, I have my core group of friends from years ago that I still speak to very regularly. I love them, I have a history and bond with them. Fortunately, I still feel just as close with them today as before.

But, I also have a new group of friends. Some older than me. Women of all different groups. And I love these women. I had dinner last night with a very new friend, and it felt like I was having dinner with an old friend I hadn’t seen in years. We sat down at 7:45 and didn’t get up until 11:30PM. We talked the night away over a yummy dinner and a bottle of wine. The connection was immediate, and we are just “on the same page.”

Some of you have written in about friends you have “outgrown.” By outgrow, you have said that both of you have changed and perhaps grown apart and you find yourselves in bouts of silence during conversations. Perhaps your priorities have shifted, and had you met this person today, there would have been no friendship at all. And while this is sad, this is life. We grow, we move, we transition, we change. Not everyone we grew up with still share that same compatibility. And I think we have to say, “that is okay.”

So, the “fence” issue here is, do you keep a friendship going with someone you share very little in common with just for history’s sake, or do you let the friendship fizzle? I think this is difficult to answer. We’re all busy women in our lives at this stage, be it working, single, married, divorced… whatever. Frienships should nurture us, not weigh us down. So I encourage you to let go of all friends that are toxic, that weigh you down.

Keep the good, throw away the bad. Friendships shouldn’t be about new or old, they should be about quality. I wish you a long and happy life with your bestest of friends! I wish you joy and tears for many more years.

New Friends and Old Friends
by Joseph Parry


Make new friends, but keep the old;
Those are silver, these are gold.
New-made friendships, like new wine,
Age will mellow and refine.
Friendships that have stood the test –
Time and change – are surely best;
Brow may wrinkle, hair grow gray,
Friendship never knows decay.
For ‘mid old friends, tried and true,
Once more we our youth renew.
But old friends, alas! may die,
New friends must their place supply.
Cherish friendship in your breast –
New is good, but old is best;
Make new friends, but keep the old;
Those are silver, these are gold.
 

What is your take on new and old friends? Do you have those you keep around that you should have thrown away long ago? Share some stories with our readers.

xoxEDxox