Oh god… is it that time of the year… again?
It’s not that I don’t enjoy the exercise of working through the year and taking time to reflect about what happened… it’s just that 2018 seems soooooooooo big…
… and so much happened that sitting here trying to put together something reasonable and logical and coherent feels like a really big task… and one that’s on the edge of uncomfortable.
Last year I was able to work through this discomfort by trying something a bit different: Instead of trying to recite (by memory) the larger events I, instead, did a “prediction” exercise where I shared what I thought was going to happen and what surprised me; that was fun and much more entertaining (at least for me).
This year, I’d like to focus on one particular area that was both surprising and extremely rewarding: Friendship.
So, we’ll see how this goes…
This past year was particularly interesting in the area of friendships and relationships as a whole and it was the first area of my life that immediately jumped to the front of the line as I began thinking about 2018’s retrospective.
Simply put, I have a much better idea of who I am in the context of friends and friendship than ever before and it’s only taken me 36 years!
More specifically, I’ve really enjoyed getting to know a very small group of folks and have found myself actually thinking about them randomly as I go about my day.
***gasp … I know, right?
That might sound strange for a few of you but this is way outside of bounds for me and I’ve been very pleasantly surprised by this development.
Meeting up with a beloved friend just to chat about nothing (and everything) is something that I’ve previously reserved for my wife but this past year I’ve discovered that there’s something within me that not only wants things like this but I also feel like I have something specific to give; this is also a fairly interesting development as I’ve historically reserved a lot of that for mentoring and coaching, but instead those walls have come down and I’m just… plainly… me… and having a good time while at it.
What’s also been fun is reviewing older posts that I’ve written on friendship and reflecting about how much my thoughts and opinions on this subject have changed:
This post above was very helpful this past year and is something that I can actually appreciate and understand now. I’m very grateful to have a few friendships that has truly brought some of the “sweeter joys” that life has to offer me.
I’m really glad that I didn’t give up on the possibility because I would have missed out on some of the most enjoyable times in my life thus far.
I have a few now and I cherish them so much. I miss them too, which, is also a new sensation. If I can keep this up then I won’t be the 40, 50, or 60-year old that finally gets around to building healthy, life-long relationships.
The best relationships have been ones where I didn’t “diligence” anything ahead of time and just dove in, even if the results in the end came out pretty badly. I’m not sure I’d have it any other way at this point in time.
Part of friendship (I think…) is loving the person so much that you’re okay with seeing them go, if it’s in their best interest and for their good. There are a few folks now that I’d desperately miss if they were to leave my life but I’d be just as equally happy for them as well.
Life isn’t about what you keep but what you give away.
Experimenting with different forms of friendship is one of the best things that I’ve done in the first 3 decades of my life. I’ll admit, though, that this wasn’t by design but rather by accident. I’d have it no other way.
Re-reading this post made me pretty upset because it reminded me of what I’ve done with some of these friends: I’ve given them “weapons of mass destruction” which they may use against me and my heart at any point in time, for any reason.
I, of course, volunteered all of this information without concretely thinking about the potential downsides and consequences of potentially over-sharing!
But, if I hadn’t, then, I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy the fruits of that investment of trust and so there’s no way around this, as far as I can tell.
I mean, you can either decide to live on the periphery of everyone’s lives (and they on yours) and just get a sample (or two) of their lives and their hearts on occasion or you could get the full-course meal instead of sticking just to appetizers.
At this point, I think I’m on the pathway towards dessert and I’m digging the menu so far – I think I’ll keep going.
Without question, I want to be known just as much as the next person and it is a very dangerous quest.
I think about this often and although this post is less about one’s personal friendship endeavors it does bring to mind that there may be an upper (or lower?) numerical bound when it comes to the amount of friendships that one can meaningfully have.
I’m very grateful to also work with some amazing people at my company who I consider really good friends as well. What a year 2018 turned out to be.
You don’t have many friends and you won’t have that many friends 10 years later. That’s okay and there’s nothing wrong with that.
And I’m loving this more and more as it’s turning out to be true and I’m really getting close to capacity (if I’m not already there).
And this too:
And then, finally, I was wrong about this one:
2011 was a very, very hard year for me and one that I do not enjoy, even in the slightest, recalling. In fact, even as I sit here I’m having difficulty remembering exactly why I wrote this post in the first place.
… … …
Okay, got it. Yeah, that was a fucked up season of my life and, for the moment, had decided that friends and friendship should be distinctly transactional and managed.
I’m glad that I was not only able to recover but also learn that I was wrong about what friendship could really be. I’m still not completely over those experiences and I have a lot of scar tissue to prove it, but, they can now serve as object lessons of what it takes to get to a real, potent, and live-giving level.
Again, if you’re going to go the distance then you’re going to hand them a weapon to your heart and soul and that means that some of them will use it – it’s just statistical odds at that point.
But we shouldn’t stop trying. Never stop trying.
2018 was, without question, the very best year of my life (and I want to capture a few final thoughts randomly as I come to the end…).
Not only did my family grow by 1 with the introduction of Buddy King in late 2017 but my professional (and personal) life also expanded as I drummed up enough courage to invite a handful of folks to join me in my new company.
And with those “expansions” came a lot of heartache, resentment, bitterness, and sadness… but those are natural consequences of living in a broken world with broken people.
But I learned a ton.
My wife and I celebrated 13 years together as a married couple while my oldest turned 12 and my youngest is on the very doorstep of becoming 8 years young.
In 2018 I also traveled internationally, which I hadn’t done in quite some time, experienced a truly life-changing community-related event, built a computer with my oldest (or rather, she built it), had a life-long dream fulfilled, I rebooted my personal vlog and crossed 2k subs (just took me almost 10 years), experienced a full year of travel soccer (and tournaments), launched the most important software application of my life (so far), explored my faith and remained more open to “heresy” than ever before, and survived 3+ years in SF (with more to come). I also saw my oldest spend a few weeks by herself overnight at a variety of camps and trips and my youngest traveled with me for work. I mean, everyone, everywhere, is growing up (too) fast! Things need to slow down a bit.
And… I think that’s as much as I can muster at this point. I’m going to publish this and get back to my life. I truly believe that 2018 was the best year of my life and I know that 2019 will be even greater.
Isn’t that exciting? This is true of me and you… let’s make it amazing. Here’s to us. Here’s to relationships and friendships that go the distance.