Sunday, June 29, 2014

An appreciation of all things genuine

     No generation in history has put so much thought, energy and money into keeping itself safe and secure, but still individuals are not happy when it comes right down to it.
     I hear folks trying to engage in more relevant activities picking and choosing with much better care taking into consideration the raising of their families. It is a frantic and action-packed agenda keeping them on the go. I listen to someone wishing to get more personal with friends long forgotten. It goes on and on.
     Our contemporary culture is fixated on “living large.”
     “Extreme” and “super-sized” gets put in front of everything making it more appealing.
     The older I get the more I am eliminating the useless activities in my life and bringing my experiences into sharper focus. Maybe it is a sensible rite of passage that I am supposed to go through achieving a serene and contented stage of maturity.
     I reach for people that are genuine. They are quite easily spotted, and often they come rather naturally into my circle. There is hardly any work in making a connection. It all falls into place as if we were meant to belong together. They see in me what I am in the mirror. (And it is likewise.) I gracefully take from the friendship a better me.
     These unique human beings are the ones that cross boundaries in their relationships, exude love for those that matter to them, take risks at every corner and lead rich lives. They can't be pigeonholed or molded from a cookie-cutter, and never are these friends always in my immediate space.
     Friendships do need to be cultivated, and in certain cases, they will be in my life for a brief period of time. It is important in my growth and development. I look back thankful for them, and how fortunate that I paid enough attention the first time we met.
     Others are the lifetime friends that cover a lot of territory with me. As one friend aptly says, “We have come this far and it’s too late to stop now. You and I know everything about each other.”
     My young neighbor and her two toddlers came to visit one early evening and immediately the older boy headed to our creek and searched for fossils. Mom brought the baby up to the porch for a check on his growth spurt, and he looked me over before falling asleep in her arms. She and I talked about how she is doing carving out time for herself and what she planned to do with the children exposing them to the area.  A bit of the conversation centered on her questions searching for motherly advice, too, and I welcomed giving to a person intent on listening and absorbing. There is a bonding going on across the generations that is hard to explain, but it is an honest and truthful one. We look forward to more, and know that we don’t need each other all the time either to maintain a beautiful friendship.
     On the opposite end of the age scale I have a ninety-three year-old friend that I do see quite regularly when she is not off jetting to visit with her sons in other parts of the country. We never end a conversation without saying to each other, “I love you,” and those words are pure and simple unconditional care for each other. Her life is so full that you can’t help but want to tap into her enthusiasm. Her wisdom and openness to diversity is encouraging to young and old alike. She is a woman I want to be emulate when I reach her stage in life.
     Having a close friendship with someone that lives out of the region requires a deeper understanding of why you got together in the first place. Each of us has needs that the other fulfills, whether it is advice or a shoulder to whine. The necessary requirements are that the connection is devoid of jealousy, appreciates the other’s concerns and doesn’t require anything tangible in return.
     All the activities and opportunities that I seek are ones that add a little more pleasure and joy into my daily world. I don't have to have a full calendar every weekend of the month, nor do I have to be going someplace, although reading my blog might lead you to draw a different conclusion.  
     Meeting new people and discovering places near and far means that I have to move out of my comfort zone and trust my knowledge base. I am not a tourist, but I am a traveler, and there is a huge difference. It is not about how much I can cram into a vacation; however, I could be accused of that if I don’t grab hold of myself and shake off the impulse to conform.
     Often the traveling somewhere is right in the natural woods or fields outside my door where I am once again in awe of the seasons of nature. Other times it is the solitude at my computer where I bring up thoughts that must be put on paper, and the hours spill away being a friend to myself.
     I believe in randomness, too. And surprises. Learning to be open and attentive while using my senses has revealed many valuable secrets in places that I hold dear in my heart.

    Instead of “too much is never enough” our culture throws at us in songs, videos and blogs, think about living small.