Recently I encountered a little personal-life-wrinkle. It wasn’t much fun, but it came and went, leaving only a slightly choppy wake. Actually, it helped me.
Remember Biology class, with microscopes that had a “coarse focus” and “fine focus”? Well, my “fine focus” got re-focused, and two things popped into crystal-clear view under that microscope: Friendships and Running.
My friends are incredibly important to me. I spend a lot of time solo, since I live alone and am currently sans boyfriend, so I place a high value on quality hang-out time, whether it’s a telephone conversation, a quick cup of coffee, or a catch-up dinner that lasts for hours. At the same time, I fully realize that with this getting-older thing come some natural processes. Friends get married. They have babies. They move away, or stay behind when you move away.
Friendships change. Period. If any married person out there thinks that getting married and/or having kids hasn’t changed their extra-marital friendships…sorry, you’re wrong. Same goes for friends who find themselves with miles and miles between. But! That change isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If all parties are willing to put effort into maintaining the friendship, it gets stronger, no matter how rarely the friends see each other. And that makes actual hang-out time all the better.
Lucky me, then, to share two get-togethers last weekend. Knowing the weather forecast called for an absurdly beautiful Saturday afternoon, on Friday night I tossed out the idea of pizza and beverages on the patio of Il Vicino, a restaurant within walking distance of my apartment. I had two takers, so we met up the next day, and it was wonderful. We ate, drank, relaxed, and discussed the usual stuff. You know: men, work, the mysteries of the universe.
Then, on Sunday evening, a group of us met up to see The Hunger Games. I think I even put on make-up for the occasion. We had a blast and probably annoyed the people around us with our pre-movie chatter, but who cares? It felt great.
As for the running part? Well, every once in a while, I feel the need to do what I call my “cleansing run.” I run from my apartment up into Embudito Canyon, about 8.5 miles round-trip. It offers nice soft trails to run on, but that’s where the niceness ends. The hills demand attention, and for what it’s worth, it’s the only place I’ve ever seen a full-grown rattlesnake in the wild. It’s a perfect run for shaking out emotional clutter.
For this most recent “cleansing run,” I tried an idea I’d read about. Upon reaching my turnaround spot, I picked up two rocks, focused my biggest sources of stress and worry on them, took a couple deep breaths, and put the rocks back on the ground. Now, did my worries stay with those rocks on that bluff like they were supposed to? Time will tell, but the rest of that run went pretty well, and as for life in general after that, so far, so good.
We all have ways in which we improve our “fine focus” to clearly see our priorities. That weekend taught me the importance of making time for them. Life-wrinkles are inevitable, but a properly-adjusted focus definitely makes it easier to iron them out.