Cancel you plans, turn down the lights, and make a date with yourself.
Sometimes it’s nice to clear the calendar and just sit back and have some alone time on a weekend night. While I have been having a
very EXTREMELY social few weeks and loving that, I have also promised myself I would make this a year of balance and working on being present and being my best self. In order to find this balance and (even harder) to hold it, one must take the time to reflect and relax, to re-center, if you will. I guess it’s sort of like keeping your body in a perfectly pH balanced state, that is uber difficult b/c everything you do and eat has a chemical effect on that very delicate balance. Such is life and the our daily activities.
I have spent my years being very black and white about many things, and my all-or-nothing outlook with my devil-may-care attitude towards what people think about it has definitely propelled me in many ways - business, for instance, I excel in with this attribute. However, in my personal life - in regards to friends, my ability to be social or be a hermit, or in taking care of myself (in the time and rejuvenation aspect - not the more obvious), this particular attribute tends to be a bit damaging.
Because of certain aspects of my younger years, I have this amazing ability to disappear from the world and become quite the hermit. I will still go out, yes, but I will go alone. I will take myself to dinner, coffee, and the movies alone. I will sit for HOURS in a coffee shop, writing as I watch the world around me buzzing by. Depending on my particular mood or reasoning for my recession, I can play out my life this way for a few days or for months, and more recently, YEARS. The other side of this is, when I’m feeling like being social and missing my friends and the feeling of being surrounded by love and affection, I go ALL OUT. Suddenly, friends who haven’t heard from me in months (some years) will begin to get calls, texts, emails, invitations to dinners and to go out. I will find a way to be in 20 places in one evening, just to be sure I am supportive of all of my friends and their respective events, I will throw my life’s work into being there and doing things for all the people that I care about. I will let people in again, and I will share what I’ve reflected on and how I’ve evolved. And while both of these sides of me are very necessary and good, I have always been a bit crappy about the balancing act of the two.
Most recently I spent 2.5 years splitting my time between being a support system for a dear person that needed a very nurturing and loving boost in life, working my ass off in a very demanding and not so rewarding investment firm, and trying to make time for a select grouping of friends, while still trying to make new ones in an effort to fulfill the need for local friends.
As an aside, the funny thing is, all the really great new friends I made, all live out of the country or out of state - leave it to me. HA!
Anyway, after I made a very conscious and concerted effort to change THAT particular path in my life, I then spent another very intentional 7 months, licking my wounds, evaluating my choices and my next steps. And coming into 2014, I made some hefty promises to myself and some of my dearest friends - mainly because I can deal with letting myself down (I’ve always been my own worst critic, so nothing new there), however, I do everything in my power to never disappoint or let my friends down.
The promises are simple: to myself -
• To practice and actually DO the things that I am passionate about (Finish writing my books and publish them, cook more and often, practice my drawing and start painting and creating art again, photography, music and singing)
• To only put my energy into things that bring me joy, instead of always pouring all my energy into things to make others happy. (**One of my greatest traits and yet my achilles heel, is that I have spent my life putting everyone before me. And if it comes to someone I love, be it a friend, family member, or otherwise, I will always put those before myself without even the first thought.)
• To be present and be One with the world and universe. This one is probably the hardest and is one that I have worked on day in and day out for many years - call it the Tao in me
• To Forgive myself for what I deem the bad things I’ve done or choices I’ve made. (**This one is almost as hard as the one above) And sadly, as it has come to my attention through sharing my struggle with this one with some that are very close to me - the things I consider terrible and beat myself up about, most people would say are really not bad at all. But then again, I hold myself to an insanely high standard and a very strong morality.
• To take time for me, to love myself more and be a little selfish. This one’s kinda petty - but ya know, get more manicures and pedicures, get a massage every month, take myself out for a great dinner, always buy fresh flowers to have in the house, buy a new dress. To realize that it’s ok to cancel my plans because I want to relax alone or maybe with just one friend instead of 10.
For My Friends
• To truly evaluate the Friend list, to cut out the people who only take and never give - no matter how much I love them or how many years are between us (this one was probably the most painful). And to truly invest and re-connect and make a concerted effort to stay in touch with the ones that I have a healthy and balanced relationship with.
• To bring back Doris Day and the Dinner Parties
• To be balanced in my social life, not to disappear. I have a friend who actually got very upset with me several years ago and said, “Chloe, you’re like the Sun. When you are around, you are so bright, you bring so much love and joy into everyone’s life around you. But then you leave, you just disappear and it’s like a big dark cloud comes - and nobody like dark clouds. You can’t do that, you have to be a better friend.” This stuck with me and conflicted me deeply, as I always thought I put every bit of my heart into my friends, but then again, never really considered the times I would hermit myself to be something that negatively affected my friends. Or made them to feel I was being a lousy friend. So this is a big promise.
• To truly let the people I care about in. To allow my friends, the ones I choose to have in my life, to see the real me, the genuine me. The thing with this one, is that I have a very good base of friends that I’ve known my entire life - so even if we go years without seeing each other, they know me. However, the friends I’ve made along the way, the ones that have been here for 4, 7, 10, even a few that are at that 13/14 years mark - sometimes only get bits and pieces - depending on how I’m feeling and the times and places we happen to spend time together. It took a few different occasions for me to realize that I have become a ninja at keeping the softer side of myself very close to my chest. Only dolling the true me out in very small and calculated doses, while readily giving the exuberant, silly, and overtly sarcastic side out like candy. *This, I say to myself, “Self - you don’t have to be so protective of that sweet natured side as long as you make good and right choices in your friends.” Yes, it’s obvious - but who am I to lie, there may be a reason (a darn good one) for that, nonetheless I learn everyday and work to be better and better and better :) .
• To travel more to see all of my darlings and loves. To travel WITH them, to finally get a few of them to synchronize schedules with me and go international for goodness sake! I have lots of places I want to go and I want my friends with me! (This one is increasingly difficult now that we are all older and responsible - pffft)
So there ya go. I say all ^^^^^ that to say, today is a day of balancing the scales for me. Last night I had a very fun, however, not so planned night out on the town with some wonderful girlfriends - which threw me off a bit for today when I was supposed to have a dinner party for about 8 people. After a few of the choice people I was looking forward to seeing cancelled, I felt it gave me a fabulous excuse to cancel the entire dinner party and enjoy a writing date with myself. To relax, rejuvenate my body and my brain from my recent extreme social activity. To have some hot tea and indulge in some gelato and maybe watch a movie in my pj’s. Some are disappointed, and for that I am sorry. However, there will be more dinner parties, there will be another day and night to laugh and play together. But tonight is all mine… Well, mine and my pen. Today was lovely and spent having some very deep conversations with a dear, fairly new friend (1 year) - the more time I spend with this particular friend, the more I feel we are getting and will be the best of friends for many years to come. And friends, my friends, they are the best things in life and I love them all with such passion and hold them in the highest regard, as they have all shown me such amazing love and made me better through their friendship over the years.
So cheers friends, cheers to my loves!
And as for the soundtrack… Sometimes I like to relax to electronic music, trust that this will progress into trance followed by ambient, which will put me to sleep very nicely. :)