Old Friends

There’s something about an old friend that can provide connection to the past to keep you grounded.

Sometimes, you just need to spend a little time with an old friend. Sometimes, being with someone you haven’t seen in years can do wonders for your soul. For your well-being.

On Friday, I had an opportunity to spend some time with just such a friend. We hadn’t seen each other in years since we live on opposite coasts, and the opportunities to get together are minimal. But we picked up as if we had just seen each other the previous day.

What I realized is that spending time with an old friend can bring life into sharper focus. It can remind you who you are, how far you have come, and where you are going. Your old friends, they knew you back when life was new and fresh, and opportunities lurked around every corner. You were still figuring out where you fit and how you could contribute to the bigger picture of life. These friends… they helped you to form your identity as you struggled through challenging times, navigated new environments, and started to settle into your adult life, forming new perspectives that were truly yours (and not your parents’).

Old friends are the best friends. You can go years without seeing them—or even communicating much at all—and yet, you always find yourselves right where you left off. Conversation is comfortable and casual as you move from one topic to the next, sometimes circling back in that weird way in which conversations flow. And yet, it never seems weird.

Sometimes, you just need an evening with an old friend. An evening to re-examine who you are and who you’ve become. An evening to reminisce and remember that change is not always a bad thing. An evening to look ahead as life changes from one phase to the next and you continue to evolve… even through midlife and beyond.

Sometimes, you just need an old friend to help you reconnect to all that once was, and still is, and will be important in life.

Refocus

What is going well in your life? I would love to hear about it.

We have trained ourselves away from asking that question. We focus on what isn’t going well, and we endlessly pick away at those bits as if throwing ourselves into what isn’t good will somehow make it better. We believe that strengthening the weak areas and taping up the cracks that threaten our lives will somehow make us happier.

We throw resources at our lack of talent and our lack of happiness. We chase after the goals we can never reach—but that wouldn’t make us happy, anyway. These goals are not ours, but someone else’s goals imposed upon our lives.

And these are just band-aids.

What if, instead, we focus on what is going well? What if we take some time to truly examine our lives and untangle the good from the not-so-good. The amazing from the “eh….” And then, once we have figured out what is working, what makes us happy, we focus on those areas. What if we look at life from the standpoint of abundance rather than from lack? What if we concentrate on the things we do well and the things that make us happy? I believe we should take what we’re good at and the activities that bring us joy and do more of those things. These things, these activities… they will lift us up.

This is a strengths-based approach—to use our abundance to create more happiness. If we bring more positivity, the rest will work out. By focusing on what is working, we will be happier. We will be more rested. We will feel cared for. And rather than making the “tough” our main struggle, tough can be our side job. Because focusing on the things we are good at and the ones we enjoy, we can make the tough that much easier.

So what is going well in your life? I would love to know!