Thankful

Last week I was talking to one of my very best friends about what is going on with our lives and our families and life in general. The past two weeks had kind of sucked for me and both of our families. No major tragedies; just a couple stabs. As each of us made a complaint, the other one would say “at least you had/could/are/etc.” reminding each other that it could be much worse. In reality, it’s been a really good year for me (and her too, I think) and I have a lot that I am thankful for – some good and some making the bad good. Here’s what I am thankful for so far this year in no particular order:

  1. My job: I am so thankful for my job for many reasons. First, because I have one when so many people do not. It’s tough out there and I managed to find a new job in a bad economy with tons of other people competing for the spot. I’m crazy luck just for that. Second, because it allowed me to leave a job that made me beyond miserable and to join a team of genuinely nice, friendly and non-dramatic people. Third, because it pays me a significant amount more than my last job. Not to say that money is everything or that I’m rolling in dough now (because I’m definitely not) but, for other reasons that I’ll get to next. And finally because it’s providing me with a great opportunity to learn and grow as I work.
  2. I can donate to charities: Okay, I understand that this one may sound ridiculous but, hear me out. Remember what I said about my new job paying me more. This is one of the biggest benefits of that salary (beyond being able to live with a little bit of comfort). When people ask you to donate to their walk fund for whatever charity or when everyone puts in money to sponsor a family around the holidays, they always say that even $1 helps. That’s very true but, it’s nice to be able to give more. Since I started my new job I’ve been able to donate to my mom’s walk fund for the Alzheimer’s Association of Northeastern New York and to my friend’s walk fund for Making Strides Against Breast Cancer. I was able to buy a little extra for the two families the hotel sponsored for Thanksgiving. And I’ll be able to make some contributions to my favorite charities this holiday season and buy some extra toys for Toys for Tots. I am thankful that I can help make a little more of a difference this year.
  3. My parents: I am always thankful for my parents. They’re amazing people who made my life pretty damn easy and put up with my shit when I was making their life pretty damn hard. That’s a whole ‘nother type of thankful right there (Thanks for letting me live, Mom & Dad. I can think of more than one time I would have killed me.) But, the reason that I’m especially thankful for them this year is because of who they are. 2012 has not been their year at all. And this is after the past couple years haven’t been so great either. I won’t go into their personal details but, I am thankful for the strength that they have shown and continue to show through it all. I’m hoping 2013 is the year that they get to finally see the light at the end of a very long, dark tunnel.
  4. My fianceYeah…I have one of those and in April, I’ll have a husband. And, I’m ridiculously thankful for him. Not only can he put up with me and my crazies and love me in spite of them but, he’s also helped me become a better person.
  5. My dog: Emma has been my companion for almost seven years. She is a crazy bundle of joy. No matter what has happened in my life or where I’ve gone, she’s been there. She may not be the brightest bulb but, she is the most loving.
  6. My family, My friends and Everyone who doesn’t like me so much: Because they are the people that help shape your personality and your life. Without all of them, I wouldn’t be who I am or where I am today.

And, while that’s the end of my list, there is so much more to be thankful for every day.

Actions

Yesterday I tweeted this gem:

Actions speak louder than words in love and hate.

Take it for what you will but basically, I’m just tired of people being fake.  People who say they’re your friends, don’t act like your friends.  People that say they don’t like you continue to communicate with you (cough…TU blog commenters…cough).  I’m just frustrated with it all and done with the junk.

You’re Not My Friend

I’ve always been pretty tough on new people that come into my life.  Unless you gave me a good reason to like you, I was completely indifferent to your existence and would usually pay you no mind.

This year, I was going to give people a break, though, and see where it lead me.  I decided to treat everyone like a friend and continue with that until they gave me a reason not to like them.

Then, in March, I wrote that, for the first time in my life, I am friends with someone who I do not like.  I thought that “friendship” wouldn’t last much longer than that revelation.  I rethought it though, and decided that it would be worth continuing because my feelings might change.  However, my feelings have not changed and it’s a feeling I have about more than just one person.

I really didn’t know what to do.  I felt obligated to continue the friendships because I had carried them on for this long and obviously developed some sort of relationship with them.  I also thought that maybe I was just resorting to my old, “mean” self.  Then, last week, I was reminded that  don’t need to be everyone’s friend and that it’s worse to carry on a fake friendship then to just move on.

I kind of took it to an extreme and gave people a few too many chances.  I’ve tried much too hard to maintain friendships that have no benefit to me.  They are slightly toxic and bring no positivity to my life.  I don’t enjoy their company and I’ve found myself extremely annoyed by them several times.  None of these things lead to a good friendship for either party.

I’m not going to confront these “friends” and tell them that I don’t want to be their friend because I find them X, Y and Z.  I don’t find it necessary and I think that would be mean.  Instead, I’ll just back away from them and keep them as acquaintances.

So here ends that phase…may it rest in peace.  From now on, I will approach everyone with a healthy mix of attitudes.  Just call me “cautiously optimistic.”

Monday Thanks

I haven’t posted a Monday Thanks in a few weeks which doesn’t mean I didn’t have things to be thankful for.  It just means I haven’t had the time.  So without further ado…here are this week’s Monday Thanks…

I am extremely thankful for all the people that came to the #AlbanyTweetUp on Thursday at Wolff’s Biergarten.  In my personal opinion, it was the best one we’ve had so far.  I have some poor quality cell phone pictures of the group and the cake that we destroyed with only forks.  I’ll post those to the Facebook page.

There are no words for how thankful I am to have such fun, supportive, funny, enjoyable friends that I can always rely on.  They have helped me in more ways than I could have ever imagined.

I am thankful for where I am.  A year ago, I would have never seen myself where I am in my life.  Even on the bad days, I can almost always find something good.  I wasn’t always able to do that.

What are you thankful for this week?

Three Weeks

It’s been three weeks since a close friend of mine passed away suddenly as a result of inguries he suffered when his car was hit by a drunk driver.  He was a single father to a beautiful five year old girl, Gabriella.  Every time I see her, I see him…she has his eyes, his smile and his hair.  She will grow up surrounded by his family and friends who will love her and cherish her as he would.

I miss my friend every day and wish that I could have said good-bye.

Walk slow

And take notice of all the beauty surrounding you

Look above

And know that those you love that you have lost are looking down at you

Embrace life

And remember that each day is a gift

La Bella Vita

I was going to title this blog “Inbox – 215” but I think that gives it a negative conotation and this is anything but a negative post.

Yesterday two friends and I exchanged 215 email throughout the day.  There must have been 20 random topics but, it kept us entertained and made the day go by faster than normal.

During my drive home I was thinking about what a ridiculous number of emails that was.  I don’t think I’ve exchanged 215 emails with anyone…let alone in one day.  I don’t know if I’ve ever had that much to talk about before or that I even wanted to email anyone that much.  Anyway…thinking about this made me reflect on the past few years and I realized something very important.

Three Years Ago

Three years ago this week I was in the midst of ending a horrible relationship.  I won’t go into the sorrid details but it was a toxic relationship that lasted for two years and was about a year and a half too long.  For the past two years I’ve celebrated the day it ended as my own “Independence Day.”  It was the celebration of having my life back and being able to breath again.  This year…I simply forgot.

For the past three years, I’ve had to rebuild my life.  My relationship with one person took a toll on my relationships with many people.  It took a toll on my finances, on my self-esteem and on my sanity.  For three years, I have worked tirelessly to right the wrongs that were done.  Most of all I’ve worked to rebuild myself to someone that I was proud of again.  Today, I finally realized that I’ve completed that goal.

What 215 Emails Have To Do With It…

While thinking about the emails and the events of the past few months, I couldn’t help but think how absolutely blessed I am to have so many amazing people in my life.  Three years ago I walked away from a relationship with one friend and my dog.  Today I still have that one friend and my dog but I can add at least 15 more friends to that list.  Three years ago, I felt alone and like the shell of a person.  Today, I feel full and happy and complete thanks to the friendships that I have.

This year, I forgot my anniversary because it wasn’t necessary anymore.  I don’t need to celebarate being me becaue I’m happy with me and can celebrate it every day. That has everything to do with the people that have come into my life and that I am surrounded by every day.  I am proud of the person that I am and can say that I am a good person because I have good friends that make me that way.

Each and every friend that has come into my life over the past three years has helped bring me to this point.  You have all added something to my life…something that I carry with me every day.  Whether you know it or not, you have all helped me become a whole person again, to realize my worth and make me feel good about being me again.  And for that, I thank you.

I’ll leave you with this…on the bulletin board above my desk I have a piece of paper that says

Gli amici sono la famiglia si sceglie

which means “Friends are the family you choose.”  I have chosen a wonderful family and thank you for choosing me.

When a Friendship Dies

I have a friend who we’ll call K.  K and I have known each other since 4th grade.  I won’t go into the intricate details of our friendship but, we were best friends in the full sense of the phrase.  Until about a year ago…

When K graduated from college, she moved to NYC.  She found a nice apartment, was hanging out with her sorority sisters and had a great job.  She was pretty busy with work and friends down there and I was pretty busy with the same, just three hours north.  We still managed to stay in touch, though and still saw each other on occasion – her parents still live locally and she would come home to visit.

Over the past year and a half, we’ve grown apart (to say the least).  At first, it was because our schedules didn’t mesh but, we would still see each other when one of us was in the others town.  Then that stopped happening.

It pretty much ended when K was home for a long weekend several months ago.  We had made plans to go out on Saturday night for dinner but she had to do something with her family first and was supposed to call me when she was done.  Despite my calls and text messages, she didn’t end up calling me until 11pm, by which time I was already tired and not up for going out.  We agreed that I would meet her at the train station the next day for breakfast before she headed back to the city.  She was supposed to call me in the morning.  That never happened.

This was just the beginning of what has become the end.  Following that incident, I was in the city and, despite repeated texts and a tentative plan, in the end she ignored me and we didn’t end up seeing each other.  Since then, she has been home and made no attempt to get together with me or even to say hi while she was here.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not blaming her.  I’ve been in the city and haven’t bothered to contact her.  I haven’t called or texted or reached out in any way…mostly because I’m just done with trying.

Over the years, our friendship has pretty much been on a down-slide.  While we were still friends, we no longer had similar interests.  We didn’t want the same things out of life.  We had different friends and different ideas of what a friend should be.  Basically, our friendship had died a slow death.

Here’s the thing…I’m fine with the death of our friendship but I feel like there’s a huge pink elephant in the rooms – neither one of us has acknowledged to the other that our friendship has died.  I feel like we have unfinished business.  On my most recent trip to NYC, I considered calling her to see if she would meet me for brunch; the whole point being and means to an end.  I feel like I need to clear the air.  To say:

You were one of my best friends.  I still love you but, it’s obvious our friendship has died.  I’ll still be there if you ever need anything but, lets not pretend that we are a big part of each others lives anymore.

Unfortunately, I found out she was going to be away that weekend so it didn’t happen.  A friends said I should just call her and say what I have to say but, I feel like this is too personal for a phone call.

What do you think I should do?  Should I let it go and let life take its course?  Or should I find a way to clear the air?  Have you had a similar experience?