I will be the first to admit – I am really, really, REALLY good at over scheduling my calendar – wanting to do it all. Call it a bad case of FOMO (fear of missing out), or call it what it is (to me, at least) – showing up for your people.
Sometime in my mid-twenties, I started really honing in on who my real friends were. You know, the friends who drop whatever they’re doing to answer your phone call or text when you’re having a breakdown. The ones who say ‘I am going to pick up your kids for you today while your mom is in surgery’ and then when you pick up your kids, they’re bathed, in borrowed PJs, fed and ready for bed. The kind who see you – who see that although you look like you’re holding it together on the outside, you are drowning on the inside.
Those friends, I’ve found, are really, really hard to find. Sure, you can find people you have a lot in common with and enjoy your time with, but those friends like I mentioned above – those are your people.
As I woke up on a Sunday morning with the last event of the weekend approaching, after having had work commitments throughout the week, then again on Friday night, Saturday morning and Saturday night (not the norm, I promise), honestly I just wanted to chill out at home. Watch a movie with the family, go fishing with them, whatever they wanted to do. But I remembered that those girls I had committed to months ago for this Sunday morning event continually show up for me … daily, weekly, monthly. They make me a better mom, wife, friend and business owner. They see me. They hear me. They lift me up. They had actually rescheduled this event for me because they wanted me to be there.
So how does one balance it all? I was consumed with guilt as I continued to get dressed for the event. How could I make this right and be there for everyone that day? The work/life/family/friend balance is tricky. I realized on Sunday that I need to be more cognizant of how much I am cramming into one week or even one day. Up until this marathon weekend of events, I had been doing a good job of it.
I struck a deal with my boys and said I would head to my event I had committed to for 30 minutes and I would be back by 11:30, ready to head out to spend the day with them fishing. And I was. It felt equally great and crappy to fulfill my commitment to everyone that day, but it had also added unnecessary stress. That same day, I told myself I would do better – not just for others, but for myself. I would, to the best of my ability, not schedule more than one event outside of regular working hours from now on.
Although I felt like I was letting everyone down that day, the reality is, my friends would have understood why I canceled. As someone who strives to help women achieve balance in their life daily, they understand that I need to practice what I preach.
It Isn’t Always What it Seems
Which leads me to this. Sometimes your friends who can’t make it to your event aren’t canceling or not coming because they don’t want to. Sometimes they are admitting that they need to reign in their social obligations to fill their cup, their families cup.
Recently I saw that a grieving friend of mine (we will call her Sally) is struggling because one of her long time friends (we will call her Jane) has seemingly written her off. Why? Because Jane thought that Sally wasn’t there for her in a time of need.
Most often, things aren’t as they seem. Jane had no idea that Sally’s grief is still very real and affecting her daily life. Most of the time, when we think someone isn’t there for us, it is because they are consumed in their own set of stresses and commitments. Relationships are give and take. We can’t always be giving, and we can’t always be on the receiving end. As I continue to work on this juggling act, I will continue to remind myself of this:
Meet your friends where they are.
Lift them up.
Make them laugh.
Find your tribe.
Love them hard.