Everyone needs a little self-improvement, right? That’s why I’ve set a personal challenge for the month of July to tweak here and there areas in my life that need some extra attention. Nothing radical mind you. Just little things I can do to bring more clarity, more joy, and more vitality to improve my daily routine.
Day 15: Make Time For Friends
My Problem: I get so busy with my own routines, challenges, and chores, that spending time with friends often gets pushed aside.
My Goal: Purposely plan activities to hang out with friends.
My Plan: I am passionate about people. But it is also easy for me to neglect real life relationships for work deadlines and personal prerogatives. It seems, the older I get, the less time I put aside to spend with friends in meaningful, bonding activities. And then I wonder why do I feel so isolated? It is a Catch 22.
When I get out of balance, I appreciate friends that keep me in mind and invite me to do things. Their consideration reminds me of the importance to leave my comfort zone every once in awhile and interact with the interesting friends I have.
One group of friends that I enjoy are brought together by books. We live miles apart from each other and lead very different lives. But for a few times a year, we will get together for dinner and to attend an author’s lecture at Vroman’s, an independent bookstore in Pasadena. When these occasions come up, I am usually swamped and could come up with a dozen reasons why not to go. I feel guilty leaving my husband and a myriad of tasks unfinished. But as soon as I meet up with these smart and fun women, I know I made the right decision.
On this particular night, we had dinner at a new restaurant and then we settled in to listen together to Jacqueline Winspear (author of the Maisie Dobbs series) tell her journey in writing her latest stand alone novel, The Care and Management of Lies. This new book tells the story of four main characters, ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances. Using backdrop of World War I (a Winspear staple), it was a great way to explore the different ways love was conveyed during the war: friend to friend; husband to wife; commanding officer to enlisted men.
Ms. Winspear also read to us an excerpt from her book. There is nothing more thrilling than hearing a story told by the person who brought the story to life. When her presentation was over, my friends and I waited in line to meet Ms. Winspear and to get her autograph. Our common souvenir and remembrance for the evening was our personalized signed copies of The Care and Management of Lies.
A little shopping, a few hugs, and our evening was complete. We were soon off to head back to our individual homes and our individual lives. For a few hours at least, I was reminded how important it is to get away and spend time cultivating friendships. It may not always be convenient, but it will always be worth it.
Day 15: Make Time For Friends