They say all of your experiences in life shape the person you become. I've never been consciously aware of the actual shaping in the past, but it's been quite noticeable over the last year or two. I know I pick up a lot of my experiences through my profession and through the volunteer work I do, and I'm aware that most people don't get to experience those kinds of life lessons on the regular. I know I'm lucky in that sense. And 43 years later I'm feeling the effects of my life's lessons. I'm genuinely not the person I used to be. Not even the person I was 2 years ago. I'm not completely different but different enough. I know my changes aren't received well by some of the people in my life but that's okay, these are my changes and change is often scary to many and avoided by most.
The biggest change I've made in my life is to really try to keep the awesome people I have met through my journey close to me. I know it's hard to find time on a consistent basis to give each person I love the quality and quantity of time they deserve. It's hard to juggle a full time job, a part time volunteer position, an intimate relationship, a family life with my kids, personal time, and all my friends. Sometimes something has to give. Over the past year I've tried to find extra time to make sure my friendships are given the attention they need and I want. I don't always find success but I'm trying. And hopefully that counts for something.
I know some of my friends feel neglected or left out. That's never my intention and it makes me sad to know I've let someone who is important to me down. So even though it's a new year I'm still not going to make a resolution. Resolutions more often than not just get broken. I'm going to carry on with my plan of the past couple of years to incorporate those people who make me laugh and feed my soul, into my regular routine.
Death on a day to day basis has reminded me that we need to make the time NOW. Drive the 2 hour road trip for a dip in a hot tub with friends, or an hour long couch sesh. Sleep in a bed that isn't yours just to share some much needed laugh therapy. Come one number away from a $900 BINGO prize so you have something to whine about with a friend. Try your friend's red wine just to see if you might like it this time around. Have friends over to play pin ball or air hockey, you will constantly have new high scores to try to beat! Make dinner for your extended family to remind yourself that you aren't a terrible cook. Go out and try new things and new experiences, and bring a friend. You may end up with some pretty neat stuff, stories and memories. Have your mom or dad come over and teach you a new skill before they can't anymore. Go see a live performance; the arts are crucial; and take someone with you who wouldn't normally do that. Take pictures. Lots of pictures. There are so many worse things happening in this world than taking your picture. Make a change in someone's life by volunteering. It's as much for you as it is for them. Trust me. Send an unsolicited text just to let someone know you thought of them, even if it was just fleeting. Support your friends business or professional life, it really does matter. Take even just 20 minutes to visit a friend when they are in the hospital. Like that Instagram photo (even if you don't really) or Facebook post because it's an easy way to bring someone a quick boost, literally and figuratively. Pay a compliment, to the people you love. Often. Extend the invitation even when it's been turned down numerous times before. Sometimes don't say anything. Just listen. BE the change in someone's life. It really isn't too hard, you can find a way.