You’re it!

He’d been in the pool for all of 5 min before I heard him yell out “you’re it!” which means either he or the other kids had said “Want to be friends?”

It will never cease to amaze me how fast and easy kids can make “friends”. When then do we lose that gift? As I’ve gotten older it has definitely become harder to make friends. Are my expectations too high? Or are they too low, and so I sabotage any friendship before it has any chance of growing into anything better.

I look at when I made friends: elementary school, if it wasn’t for facebook I don’t think I would speak to any of them. (I suppose I don’t really speak to them). Middle School/Jr. High I went to a school other than my homeschool so I think that may have hindered communication with some of the grade school friends. Would that be different now in the age of texting and IM’ing? High School for one reason or another I ended up going to 4 different schools. I speak to only one person from middle/jr  and only a couple of people from high school are actually part of my life again if not for FB. Even those people are mostly linked to my wife (whom I met in high school).

The next chapter in my life was the military. I spent xx years in the Marine Corps and I made bonds with people that I know will be actually part of my life forever. Each bond stronger than the last. From training to actual combat. I can remember meeting each of those people and what they meant and how they got me through those tough days and the of course the tough days that follow an enlistment.

After the Marine Corps I didn’t think I’d make friends again. I then joined a group of athletes that showed me I couldn’t be more wrong. I remember the first few days and probably weeks and months it took for me to open up to them. I felt they’d never understand me. They do understand, and surprisingly enough I understand them. As I write these words I come to the realization that it’s been 4 years since I met those folks and I haven’t made any real friends since then. So again, why do we or I refuse to make these connections. Certainly I’ve met people in the last 4 years, right? Yet none really important as all those previously mentioned. (One that comes close I feel close to only because his name and everything about him reminds me of a friends that is very sadly no longer just a phone call away.)

Just as the “you’re it!” earlier made me take a look at friendship and the part it’s played in my life. His goodbye gave me some more insight. “OK bye” and then he walked my way. “I made a friend dad” he exclaimed. Before we even made it to the elevator he had moved on. So I guess there’s just no pressure when we’re young because we haven’t dealt with loss yet. As I’ve grown older I guess I’m done wanting to invest too much of myself in someone I might lose. I will continue to treasure those in my very small circle of friends. All the while hoping it was still OK as adults to say “Want to be friends?”

 

#projectreflect12 ~ December 2, 2012: It Happened for a Reason

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December 2: It Happened for a Reason

Different things happen for different reasons. Some of them happen to make us stronger, and some happen to make us better people. Describe one thing that happened this year that challenged you to be a better, stronger person, against all odds.  How did this affect you emotionally?

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I started raising money a few years back for a very important cause. I won’t even bother getting into the details of why it was dear to me. Some friends dear and close to me know why but I won’t talk about that now because it’s become so much more than when I first kicked off on my “mission”. Now, I’ve written before that although I loved my time in the service I refuse to let it define my entire life. Instead I will carry the lessons learned and apply them to the rest of my life.

If I am to live a full and colorful life then I hope my time im the service will only be a chapter in the storybook that is my life. I don’t mean to dismiss all my experiences but I hope to God that I made it through trying times so that I could do some good and make or at the very least inspire some change in someone/anyones life. After leaving military service, that mindset and need to be part of a bigger group did not easily fade and I quickly found yet another positive outlet. The above mentioned “fundraising group”.

2012 is when this relationship has come to an end. I can now say that it happened for a reason. I find myself stronger not just physically but mentally. At first though it was an emotional weight that crushed me at first and it took all my will and help from friends that I made via the group that I finally came to terms with my decison to leave said group. I went from anger to self doubt and finally arrived at feeling peace because I believe I did a lot of good with my efforts. Now one can ever take that away from me. I also made some amazing friends that I hope will be a part of my life in some capacity.

Once that peace was reached I was even able to move on, as is the case with any relationship. I’m an ambassador for a New Year’s Race which is a sort of resolution race for a lot of people I’ve met since coming onboard to promote the race. I’ve ran a few races even after beginning to train on my own and so that fear of not being able to venture out on my own is gone as well. I had an incredible year of racing in 2012 at a variety of different events. I look forward to kicking of my 2013 and sharing that medal pictured above with a couple thousand folks that are also looking to make a difference in their own life that might resonate with the world around them.