On Summertime Expectations (43)

Ahh, August.  Though I try to see the main part of the month as still summer, it’s hard to ignore the back-to-school thoughts that start creeping into my mind.

This has been an unusual summer.  On one hand, it has been amazing — I love being home with my family, I really enjoyed my summer camp job, and overall things are going well.  On the other hand, it’s a little bit hard for me to reconcile the summer anticipation with what has actually gone down this summer.  My perspective has changed in regard to a few key things in my life, namely one or two of my ‘hometown’ friendships.

It’s no mystery that keeping in touch during the school year is really difficult, and it’s true that my friends spread across the entire United States when we moved to college.  With time, friendships naturally grow and evolve, but it’s always hard when they start to grow in opposite directions.  I’m thankful that the distance has united most of my friendships, re-instilling our appreciation for each other when we actually have the chance to hang out, talk on the phone, etc.  That’s certainly the case with many of my college friendships, too — living farther than down the road or across campus makes me realize how much I love having those friends close by at school.

On occasion, though, a friendship becomes weakened by the distance.  It’s not necessarily the weakening that saddens me the most (as, of course, that’s natural, too), it’s more so the new perspective that I’m forced to take on the friendship.  Instead of thinking about how much I look forward to seeing the friend when we get back to our hometown, it’s no longer a priority.  And to me, that’s really sad.

I’m firm in my belief that these things can change over time.  Just because one friendship might not be clicking as well in this moment doesn’t mean that it won’t be back on track in a few months, but sometimes it’s hard to realize that in the moment, especially when summer is winding down.

I always have such high hopes for the summer months, and I’m happy that so many of those hopes have been fulfilled.  However, I’m left with a nagging feeling, one that I hope to resolve sooner rather than later.

Anyone else feel this way right now, too?  Let me know in the comments below!

Until tomorrow,

Eliz

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On Pasta & Friendship (2)

Watch enough Food Network and you’ll find chefs throwing pasta at walls left and right.  Many chefs claim the pasta to be perfectly prepared when it sticks to the wall, and although I’ve never tried this method at home (it’s much more enjoyable to just taste it, right?), it seems to apply to a lot more than just pasta.

I’ve always tried to take advantage of the beginning of the summer to reflect about the previous year – or years – in an attempt to learn from my mistakes and create a few goals for the next semester.  Sometimes my goal is to study more, sometimes to study less, have more fun, have less fun, but the goals rarely have anything to do with friendship.  I’ve always had an instinct about people, and I can usually tell within the first hour or so of conversation where someone will fall into my life.  There are exceptions, and some people have completely surprised me in both the best and worst ways, but overall, the connection usually becomes apparent quickly.  In all of my best friends, I’ve known almost instantaneously that there was something really special there, even if it took days, weeks, or years to actually become close friends.  When you find that special spark with someone else, whether with a friend or a significant other, you hold onto it with all of your might, across continents and states, large bodies of water, misunderstandings, missed phone calls and texts, and instances when the threads of connection thin, become tethered to other anchors, or simply can’t quite keep up.

Crafting a healthy friendship often takes work, and it is when the connection can’t quite keep up – in these instances of weakness or loss or desperation or distance – in which I find it most important to reflect about where the friendship started, when you first spotted the spark, and the reasons why you cherish the other person and the ways in which they bring light into your life in the most difficult of times.  These reflections shouldn’t be timed by semesters or school years, but on a basis that works for the relationship.  Maybe you express your appreciation in birthday cards, commencement speeches, road trip lulls, tiny notes, random text messages, or maybe you just have a mutual appreciation for the awesomeness of a truly strong connection with another human.

Just like perfectly prepared pasta, some things just stick.

Until tomorrow,

Eliz