The old adage “you get what you give” can be applied to many things, but most especially to relationships. It’s usually pretty easy to identify when you feel like someone has let you down or isn’t giving you enough attention and support. But how often do you step back and ask how you might be neglecting those who are important to you?
People who know me well would likely agree that I’m an initiator. I plan lunches, getaways, parties, and pretty much look for any opportunity to connect with friends and family.
Of course, life happens and sometimes one truly can’t follow-through on a commitment to catch up with a friend. But rarely will I decline a social invitation because of being “too busy.” Honestly, like all middle-aged women, I am very busy with my family and career. Yet investing time in friendships is critical to my sanity and happiness.
In the decades since my youth, I’ve noticed how fragmented society has become. Extended families no longer live in the same town and only infrequently get together. Friends move in and out of neighborhoods within a few years, making it difficult to maintain a deep level of connectedness. People (including me) tend to rely on social media and texts instead of phone calls and drop-ins to keep in touch.
I haven’t found the perfect balance, but I know one thing with certainty. I don’t want to wake up five or ten years from now–once my kids are out of college and on their own–only to realize I don’t have any close friends or family members left because I’ve neglected them along the way.
Toward that end, I’m looking forward to spending Memorial Day in Vermont with my husband’s family and then taking a weekend trip to a lake house in the Catskills with some gal pals in early June. I’ve also planned two major family vacations this summer with various members of my own extended family. And while I look forward to the workshops at the National RWA convention in July, I want to also take time to get together socially with some of the writers with whom I’m in constant “virtual” communication throughout the rest of the year.
In addition to those big plans, I’m going to reinstate my weekly lunch dates. I’ve let the winter doldrums and my writing deadlines interfere, but now I’m inspired to get out and rotate through my various friends for lunch dates in the coming weeks.
Am I alone, or have you also let potentially precious moments slip through your fingers because you’re overwhelmed by your to-do list?