Prompt: Friendship. How has a friend changed you or your perspective on the world this year? Was this change gradual, or a sudden burst? (Author: Martha Mihalick)
If I have to name one friend who changed me or my perspective on the world this year, it would be Jeff Lakin. Jeff and I were classmates in college, floormates, and we dated for a while. We broke up, it was messy, and recently we’ve been able to reconnect.
Jeff and I struggled together this year. I think I ended up in counseling first, and encouraged Jeff to look into it. Jeff discovered mindfulness meditation, and introduced me to it. We were both very anxious people, full of worries about what people thought of us — Jeff, more so in social situations, me, more so in professional ones. We’ve both taken steps to take care of ourselves, to set boundaries in our lives, and to be generally healthier people. And I don’t think that would have been as easy or as possible without Jeff being on the other side of the instant message screen.
I’m going to name a second friend, because I think she has been just as important, in terms of support and steadiness. That would be Patti Nelson, whom I have known since high school, and kept in touch with with varying degrees of frequency.
Patti was the first person to substantively congratulate me on my pregnancy, and her congrats were complete joy in me taking a step in my life that I had been talking about for some time. Patti has no interest in kids, certainly not children of her own, and she doesn’t believe in marriage (the last I talked to her), but she’s there to celebrate weddings, and now she’s there for me as I’m becoming a mother. She treats me like more than an incubator– she has been encouraging my applications to grad school, talking to me about feminist and race issues, she’s been helping me see that living by my principles doesn’t mean comparing myself to anyone else. I’m super glad that she’s there, and that she’s excited for me, even though it’s not a step she wants to take herself.
Good friends for 2010, who changed my perspective, and helped me be me.
- The Importance of Friendships (everydayhealth.com)