Everyone is doing it at the moment so why not jump on the bandwagon? Now is the perfect time to look back on what has happened, what I have learnt over the last year and look ahead to what 2018 can bring me. I was mainly inspired by the comments on this post over on Cup of Jo; this is a great blog with all sorts of varied articles but the best bits are always the comments.
Warning – this is a highly sappy post!
The first part of my post “A Strange Month” sums me up as person and how I view relationships. For those who don’t want to go and read the description I will summarise: I’m an introvert who loves her own space but also loves her few, very close friends and could spend hours talking to them. This year, as most do, has consisted of finding new friends, rekindling or readjusting old relationships and getting rid of those who just aren’t healthy for me.
New friendships have been incredibly important to me throughout this year as I myself have changed a lot and these have been a breath of new life to me. I have gained them through work and through hobbies and am incredibly grateful for each and every one of them.
One in particular has stood out to me and also just goes to show the importance of actually connecting with people. We knew of each other through work however we are in different offices so rarely had interacted. He was just one of the many names I recognised and voices I occasionally heard on conference calls. We became ‘friends’ on Facebook in January I think but didn’t interact other than the obligatory “happy birthday” post. Gradually we had to interact more through work and one day he just reached out and messaged me about something not related to work. Since that day we have chatted a lot, finally actually met (albeit in a work capacity) and will hopefully meet up in a social capacity at some point. We have very similar opinions and likes with enough differences to make it interesting and have had conversations last for hours.
The most important thing however is what he has taught me about myself. He has been a huge source of confidence for me, teaching me to just take that first step and be brave in so many things, to just be me and do what I want. Or sometimes what he thinks he should persuade me to do! His own motivation and determination in what he does has been a vast source of inspiration to me. He has given me wonderful advice and helped me to come to many realisations that I was vaguely aware of in the back of my mind but was hiding from. Through our differing life experiences he has truly taught me not to judge people; something I’m pretty good at anyway but I’ve definitely honed my skills around him. I should add here that’s not because he’s done any horrible things but due to the discussions and opinions we have put forth about some topics as that makes it sound like he’s some kind of terrible person that anyone with an ounce of judgement would instantly hate! I have been able to open up on some things to him and he has offered to be there when I want to open up on others. I hope I’ve been a fraction as useful to him as he has to me.
I’ve also rekindled an old, very important relationship to me. A very, very close friend of mine had fallen out of touch; we’d text each other from time to time but it would be six months or even a year before the next time. I thought I had lost him completely in March this year when I got no responses to my texts however in October I tried again. After two unsuccessful attempts I left one final message in November and it was third time lucky! We spent five hours that night catching up and arranged to meet up last week. I won’t deny it, I was worried we’d have both changed too much; it had been five years since our last meeting.
There was no need to worry. As soon as we saw each other it was as if it had only been yesterday. We hugged, we chatted about stupid stuff as we walked to his. I had an hour catch up with his parents (one of my adopted families down here) then it was like old times. Up to his room, sit on his bed in my old spot with something random on the TV and talk for hours. I got there at 11.30am and he dropped me home at 2.30am the next morning! At no point was it awkward and despite what he insisted, he hasn’t changed in the slightest. What I have seen in him throughout our ten year friendship has just finally been allowed to surface. Our relationship can’t be exactly what it used to be as circumstances for both of us have changed but it is still strong and I am not going to let it lapse again. I can’t as he is my movie educator; it’s only thanks to him I’ve seen any Star Wars films!
I’ve caught up with other old friends as well; I managed to see Guy in concert (everyone should check him out over at https://guyjonesmusic.com/ he has an incredible voice and writes his own songs based on his life experiences. Plus he’s just an all round nice person. My best friend from school reconnected with me via WhatsApp earlier in the year which was so incredibly lovely and I managed to track down my best friend from university on Facebook.
Existing relationships have also continued to surprise me. One, an ex-colleague, surprised me after I had expressed my wish to move back up north by not only being incredibly enthusiastic about it but by instantly finding me five houses to buy that were not only perfect location wise but even decorated to my taste! I didn’t realise just how well she knew me or how much she’d like to have me live near her. Another friend who I’ve always thought just tolerated me actually opened up to me about some difficult aspects of her life. I was incredibly touched by her confiding in me and just hope I provided what she needed and that I can continue to.
Another friend taught me you can have opposing thoughts and feelings at the same time and overcome these. She (like oh so many of my friends this year) had a baby. I’m not a child person as a general rule. I’ve held one baby once and that was when meeting up with another friend and it was a bit of an emergency where she had to shove him into my arms. This one however I have visited my friend most weeks since he was born at the start of October and even voluntarily held him (once). I actually talk to him. I even bought him a Christmas present!
I’ve also cut ties where I needed to this year. One ‘friend’ was seemingly supportive throughout my blood clot however I then found out that in fact some horrible things had been said behind my back and there had been a lot of two-faced comments made. This was particularly devastating to me as I’d always stuck up for her when others were running her down. I bear her no ill will but she is now blocked from all communications with me; if I see her around town I will be civil but that kind of negativity is not needed in my life.
Going forward I need to continue to appreciate each and every one of my friends. I haven’t thanked them enough for the little things they do that mean so much to me, daft things such as receiving a message when they’ve had a night out with other friends. It’s lovely to know that despite not being there I’m still being thought of. Or the wonderful personalised message in my Christmas card from my clubbercise instructor. I want to do more for them; be there when they need me be it for a serious chat or just to be an idiot with. Send random little unexpected gifts even if it’s something stupid to show I’m thinking of them, perhaps get or make something to show that I’ve paid attention to what they’ve said previously. Most importantly though I just need to stay in touch.