I’m also not interested in forming friendships with Liz Lemon, Leslie Knope, Tami Taylor, Mindy Lahiri, Ross and Rachel, Jimmy Fallon or anyone else on TV.
They all seem like great people. They make me laugh or smile, and I get to see some of them fairly often. But guess what?
I can’t have a conversation with any of them. We’ve never taken a walk or gone out to dinner. I don’t know what happened during their week, much less know their phone number. We won’t ever go play tennis, dance around to my favorite music or walk the aisles of Target–just because.
None of those people will ever even know my name. Yet they’ve been invited into my home on a regular basis.
What makes me most sad is that these relationships with TV stars or fictional characters have sometimes taken the place of actual friendships and real relationships in our lives. Real friendships are messy and take commitment. Maybe it means leaving the house or planning ahead. Or being vulnerable and real…and you need to have a friend who will let you be that. It’s probably saying, “I care about you.” “Let’s hang out.” “How can I brighten your day?” and sometimes even, “I’m sorry.”
I most certainly watch TV. This is not one of those “throw your TVs out the window” posts declaring all television and entertainment evil. Ellen Degeneres is probably super great in real life. But I’ll never know.
You know who I do have the chance to get to know? The people I interact with; the ones I see every week. From my neighbors to my co-workers, friends across town to friends and family across the country, those are the people in my life that I want good relationships with. I want to know their quirks and jokes, hear their stories and cheer them on as they pursue their goals.
Watch television, that’s fine, whatever. But make sure the biggest relationships in your life are with the people around you, the ones that can actually have a relationship with you, too.
Due to popular demand, I am telling you all about my solo road trip halfway across the country and back. This is the third part, starting at mile 1,681.5 because yes, I kept track of all my major stops. If you want to catch up on the miles before now, here’s your chance: Miles 1 through 465.9 and Miles 466 through 1,440.4. Otherwise, let’s get back on the road!
1,681.5 miles Des Moines, IA: I arrived to the place I called home for several years and the clock started ticking. We’ve taken a few trips back in the past, and it always feels like a race to see all the people we love in the amount of time we have (oh yeah, and I kept working during the day on this trip). So, I saw a LOT of people and was so glad to do so.
Mason City, IA: I arrived in the area and then promptly headed a few hours north. I don’t have the miles because this time I got to ride instead of drive to my next stop. A few friends were headed to Minneapolis, MN and I caught a ride to Mason City, IA, which was on the way there. This is where the real surprise was planned.
There’s a reason I didn’t post much about this trip until after it happened. My mom has NO idea I was coming. I thought maybe this trip would line up with Mother’s Day, but when it didn’t I decided not to tell her anyway. There was a part of me that wanted to record the moment, but then I decided to experience it instead. Her jaw dropped as soon as she saw me and this is her trying and failing to reenact the expression. Just know that it was worth it. After the surprise had subsided, she showed me all around her new town as I had never been there before.
Ames, IA: On the way back to Des Moines, my mom and I swung through Ames to visit my alma mater. It’s funny, when I was in high school, I refused to even visit a college in Iowa because I was so bent on moving, which is why my first year was spent at Missouri State before I transferred to Iowa State. Now I am so grateful for my experiences at Iowa State and proud to be a Cylcone, even from afar.
Des Moines, IA: Are you ready for a whole bunch of pictures of people I love and far less description of how my week went? Good, because that’s about to happen. In summary, I spent the week working during the day like a normal person and then using the rest of the time to catch up with great friends over lunch, coffee, dinner and dessert. I stayed with friends who are new homeowners, held tiny babies, checked out the new building of my old workplace and celebrated the next season in life my friends are entering in to. Des Moines was beautiful all week and I kept feeling like a tourist who wanted to capture all that is great about that place. Somehow, there are several more people I got to see and spend time with but didn’t get a photo with this time.
1,817.1 – 2,467.4 miles Clarksville, TN: In one day, I traveled 650 miles by car as I went from Des Moines to Tennessee. While originally planned as a two-day trek, this is another one of those plans that just changed and probably for the best. Luckily for me, it went incredibly quick as I had a co-pilot to keep me company all day. When Nancy and I realized we were thinking of going back to Iowa around the same time, we coordinated our trips so that we could do part of the journey together. She is another friend about to enter into a new stage of life as she was 30 weeks pregnant at the time, and I am so excited for her and her husband to be parents.
2,516.3 miles Nashville, TN: I got on the road thinking I might simply wave hello to Nashville and be on my merry way. Originally, this was to be a stop-and-stay-with-a-friend location, but when you’re on a road trip you’ve got to be flexible and ready to shift plans around. Once I arrived, I realized how much I still wanted a chance to stay for awhile. So, I did. One might think it was for reflection on this trip before returning home and in a way it was, but the reality was that I finally finished journaling about our trip to Argentina earlier this year. It gave me the chance though to let some of my thoughts flow from pen to paper and was just the rest I needed before driving the remaining 450 miles back home. I’d just spent time with a lot of people, heard a lot of truths and challenges and traveled almost nonstop for a few weeks and had a lot to process, so I was grateful for those last few hours driving through the mountains alone on my final stretch of the journey.
It’s time for me to make a mad dash (or sorts) and write the first three things that come to my head to sum up the week. I’m so glad you seem to like reading it…it makes me feel less crazy and justifies taking a few random pictures.
1. People will surprise you. I’ve experienced such kindness from strangers this past week. People I’ve never met before became fast friends and brought a certain sweetness to my day. Being willing and open to accept that generosity and hear life stories has brought so much joy and abundance to my life.
2. Trust your instincts. Yes, be open. Yes, take chances. But also, use discernment. I’d love to say everyone is kind and considerate in this world, but I can’t. Hope for the best but keep an eye out and step away if needed. Know what your boundaries are, and when they’ve been crossed.
3. Appreciate the small things. Go to a local coffee shop and talk to the regulars. Count all the cars with stick figure families on the back window and think of all the kids that love having a sticker to represent them. Admire a skyline or enjoy a sunset. There’s beauty and delight to be found in the little moments.
Today has been such a jam-packed day that I feel like this could be called the “Thursday Thousand”…yet I can’t even think of what to say for the three. How to sum up the week in a few paragraphs? That sounds nearly impossible. So instead I’ll just spout some basic life lessons and call it good for the day.
1. Be right with your people. Those people in your life that you want to have relationships with, whether it’s your family or your friends–make sure to get right with them. There will always be something else to do and another to-do list to cross off or another idea, creative project or work responsibility to tend to. But in a week, month, year, decade, whatever–it’s those people and those relationships that you’ll care about most, so care about them now.
2. Community is both created and pursued. There are seasons in life when maybe community happens more naturally, be it in college or during the “best summer ever.” But more often, finding and being a part of a community requires intention, thought and time. You have to seek community, even when it doesn’t feel like it’s ever going to pay off. Finding community sometimes means finding a lot of rejection first. And then, once you’ve found it, you have to be willing to accept it and fully participate in that community. That takes an incredible amount of effort, transparency and perseverance, but ultimately, it’s worth it.
3. Creativity matters. We need creativity to solve problems, to find inspiration and to lift our spirits. That creativity comes in so many forms and can be absolutely amazing. It drives me crazy to think that people can put creativity solely into an artist or craft box. You have creativity in you. Don’t let the artists, musicians, writers and designers be the only ones who take ownership of the word. You are creative in some way, I’m positive, and you need to use that for the benefit of both yourself and others.
We are all people. People who have lives outside of our day jobs and interests that go beyond data entry. Why is it that when you are a kid the common question is “What do you like to do?” but later in life that changes to “What do you do?”
As kids we could be soccer players or artists or rock stars. Sure, we spent eight hours of our day in school but no one considered that to be our primary focus. If all we did was school, we were probably pretty boring little dudes. Why has that stopped? Why does a job have to feel like your primary purpose and lot in life? Shouldn’t our lives be made for something more?
I want to dream and create and live my life. So don’t put me in a box that only goes as far as my job title. Because I am a writer. A reader. A creative thinker. A traveler and explorer. Don’t shove those attributes under the rug. Because if those fade, a part of me does, too. And then you’re stuck with a pretty boring little lady.
My life was made for more than a few titles and so was yours.
Does this post sound familiar? I’ll be honest, this was a recycled post from back in the day when my blog had a few faithful followers. It seemed to fit with this series, especially the most recent post, so I thought I would add it in here. If it’s new to you, then super. If not, hopefully it served as good reminder like it did for me.
What is it about Thursdays? You look back at the week and think it was ages since the weekend. What did you even do last weekend? Gosh. Yet it’s marks the beginning of an end (or vice versa I suppose) to the week that has something great about it. Besides, who knew I could start so many blog posts just talking about Thursday? I sure didn’t.
1. We said YES. This past week, friends of ours asked us to be in their wedding this September. Friends we met here, in North Carolina. Something about that is crazy to me. We were both really honored to be chosen for these roles and especially after only knowing them for the past year or so. When we moved we really hoped and prayed we could both make close friends and be close friends. While being in someone’s wedding is far from the deciding factor on your friendship status (please, don’t even get me started about how weddings weirdly make you rank your friends), we are really excited to be a part of their big day and their lives.
2. Shut the front door, there’s snow outside. I know I went on a mini-rant/lecture on what is and is not cold last week. This time, it actually is. I wouldn’t say all of the snow days the kids got away with were totally justified but hope they had a good mini-vacay anyway. I decided to embrace a new-to-me Southern recipe by putting a bowl out on the porch to catch some flakes for snow cream. It tastes about as exciting as it sounds: milky sugar snow. As long as there’s sugar involved, it’s a bona fide Southern dish. And alright already. There’s something really pretty and even kinda fun about snow. I said it.
3. There’s a lot of people in the world. Yep, I’m going big with this last one. But it’s true. People are everywhere and I keep being reminded we have to work at things together. People can challenge you and frustrate you but they also strengthen you. It’s worthwhile to come together, even if it’s sorta inconvenient or outside your comfort zone. They’ll rub you the wrong way and sometimes you want to say, “I can do it all without them!” But there will always be someone else that will annoy you in almost the same way. Might as well figure out how to bring out each other’s strengths and work as a team.
If you know me, you know I am often two to ten minutes late to just about everything. I can’t say I have a good excuse, but I can tell you another reason other than poor planning or laziness.
I wish I could be in two places at once.
Yes, I’ve seen A Walk to Remember when the girl has it on her dying wishlist and the boy has her stand on the state line (two states, one time) and no, this is not what I am asking for. I actually want to be two places at once. That’s the super power I’d ask for because no matter what, I always seem to be torn between a few people, places and things at once.
What if I want to go to lunch with a friend just as much as I want to clean the house with my husband? Or visit friends out of town as much as I’d like to spend a weekend hanging out with my neighbors? How do you choose between Skype time with a friend or a phone call from family? Which is more important, a friend in a panic or a friend you planned to be with months in advance? A new opportunity or an established friendship?
I want to be in all the places with all the people!
So I juggle. Not always very successfully, but I try. I don’t stay long enough in one place and am usually late to the next. I cram a full schedule because I haven’t kept up with everyone I want to, only to turn around and feel I haven’t seen a bunch of other people in far too long. I don’t know what to do or how to choose sometimes. It’s not because you aren’t important to me. If that was the case, it’d be easy. It’s that other people are important to me, too. I’m torn in different directions, and the only solution I can think of is being in two places at once.