I spent so much of my life holding on so tight, to things and people. Not necessarily in a loving or appreciative way but in a strange, possessive way. Because I worried that there wouldn’t be enough. Whether it was money, time or love I was worried that there just wouldn’t be enough to go around. Three kids later I hold onto things a bit more loosely. (Though I’m challenged by that daily as my four year old destroys something else that once felt important to me, and I’m forced to remind myself that it is just stuff).
People are more important than things, I tell my daughter. (Also, that’s why you can’t beat your brother up when he crumples your drawing or messes up your stuff, as angry as it makes you.) My husband is a bit of a pack rat, he associates things with people and he is fiercely loyal to people. When I want to give something away or god forbid, throw it out, he has trouble letting go.
Maybe it’s the phase of life that I’m in. I’m constantly drowning in stuff and mess, so the idea of owning less and loving what I own is appealing. But people are more complicated. I’m having to be more deliberate and intentional about keeping up with people close to me. This isn’t always easy either, when I’m desperate to be alone most of the time. Making new friends is hard, and maintaining old friendship can be nearly as difficult, especially over distance. (I’m also married to a massive introvert for whom it takes great effort to agree to anything social after a long day/week at the office). It often feels like this time of life filled with little people who can or won’t do much for themselves, is destined to be a lonely one. I worry that I’ll find myself on the other side of fifty trying to start from scratch like I’m in high school again. (I wasn’t great at making friends then either).
I can’t go through life worried about what I might lose. Yes, it has hurt, the friends I have lost over the years. But the friendships I never gave a chance hurt too. Where I was too afraid, or too busy and I never really put myself out there. Because if I hold too tight to what I know, to what I have; I’ll miss out on too much.
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