Staying Connected

Summer is busy. Friends are traveling, routines get disturbed, and many of us end up trying to catch up at this time of year. We are reconnecting to the scheduled lives that come at the end of August. Many teachers across the country are back in school already. Some have already recounted their angst and frustration at district directives and others are entering the year full of optimism and cheer.

May is usually a busy month for me. But, September is shaping up to be just as busy.  My hobbies or rather, my self-imposed work of monarch conservation, jewelry making, writing garden club lessons, finishing a master’s degree in environmental education, and ongoing involvement in educational reform are all going to keep me moving at a fairly rapid pace.

But, I have to remind myself to stay connected. Earlier this year I found that if I did not have regular connections with friends, I fell into a slump. Mid June to mid-July was hard. I was moody and unfocused. Many of my coffee dates, walking dates, and lunches were cancelled either by me or my friends due to other commitments. I started a search to add more to joy in my life by reading books and reflecting on what really brings me satisfaction. Of course, as one reflects on what brings happiness and contentment, one also realizes that there are some things that must be let go. This is the point at which I find myself now.

There are things and people I definitely want to stay connected to and those that cause me pause, forcing me to wonder if I could just as easily do without. I am finding satisfaction in conversations that tell me I am understood, and frustration in those conversations that tell me I am not.  Since my extended family is small and physically distant, I rely on the support I get from my friends – those to whom I am connected.  I know that I am a teacher, a gardener, a citizen scientist, a monarch conservationist, an author, a jewelry designer, along with all the other roles that come with adulthood such as wife, mother, and daughter.

Staying connected to those who bring me joy (and hopefully to those I give some joy) is playing a larger role in my life. I have realized it is important to have connections and stay connected. But, I am also left with a sense of sadness as I have discovered some connections are not as strong as they once were or could be.  There is an absence of shared interests and activities which makes staying connected hard. What happens to you when you discover you are not as well understood as you thought you were or when you realize you no longer share any common interests with a friend? I’d like to know how I can stay connected. What do you think?

4 Thoughts

  1. Staying connected requires real intentionality! Or a long history of friendship. Making new connections – deep ones – is not easy and has required me to constantly be the one searching out relationships. Then comes the trial and error of finding out if we have enough in common to pursue that friendship. Just once, I wish someone would reach out to me!

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    1. Thanks for your comments, Peg. Yes, it is very hard when you are always the one searching or reaching out. I think your moving has a lot to do with how you feel and that is understandable. It’s just recently I have not felt understood by some of those with whom I’ve had long standing friendships. It’s a hard thing to realize and even harder to correct. Yet, I do not want the friendships to end. So, I am working on it – ya know?!

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  2. This is a very moving post. It can be hard to maintain long-distance friendships. I have let one important friendship fizzle out in the last five years and I really regret it. We were at very different life stages, which affected our friendship, but I think could have survived if we both put in more effort. It is sad, isn’t it?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. Most of my long distance friendships (the ones I have left) are stable. When I get to see those friends we are able to pick up right where we left off and that is reassuring, as well as fun when it happens. I am struggling more with feeling a close friend doesn’t really “get me” right now and that has been hard to realize. I am determined to keep the friendship alive and work at it (as you said, that matters and can make a difference).

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