Driving and Thinking
Greg and I had a long drive last night, back from Joplin, and as is often the case on long drives some interesting topics came up. One of the ones I'm still mulling over today is what impact we have on others lives, and vice versa.
I was thinking back over people who have been pivotal in my development as a human, who have helped shape my concept of who I am and my path in this life.
This started because Greg and I were discussing how we know so many people who don't really "live" - they go to work, they come home and watch TV and then get up and do it again. On weekends they do laundry and lawn mowing and other chores, but never really "live."
This got Greg and me thinking about how in our 20s we were so influenced by each other and how pivotal that was in our development. We were together as a couple from our early to mid twenties until our mid 30s - those are really important years for development. Greg and I were a good match. I always joked that left to our own devices he would go on a trip and spend all the time in the hotel planning with a map and left to my own devices I'd do something to get arrested. Those are exaggerations and extremes, of course, but we were a good balance. We've both been able to take that balance into other areas of our lives, even though we're not together as a couple anymore.
I cannot imagine my life without Greg in it. He has been someone who has been there for me at every turn. We've been friends, a couple, and friends again - actually, friends always. He is part of the reason I am able to do the "adventurous" things I do - he is the stability in my world. We all have to have people we know we can depend on, and Greg is one of mine. I'm blessed.
Thinking about how we influence others and vice versa made me think about my last bf, and the fact that I knew him from ages 21-26 and how important those years are in your development as a person and how you're going to move in the world. I never thought about that much when we were together, because I was 17 years older and past the point of remembering how impressionable those years are, but in retrospect I have thought about it a great deal. I just hope I did him no harm in any way. I am very, very, very different than anyone he had ever known, and probably ever will know again, unless he changes his life course dramatically. Hopefully he will just see those as exciting, adventurous times and not have any negative associations. Hopefully my influence in his life, whatever there was of it, was good.
I was also thinking about people I know who's social lives largely revolve around people I have introduced them to. When I think about this, it becomes a bit of an overwhelming concept - with a lot of responsibility.
I was also thinking about how many people I'm friends with are in my life for awhile and then drift away, even though I work to keep the relationships going. Maybe they're not supposed to continue - maybe they're only for a season. And maybe some people move out so others can move in.
Maybe part of my role is to have new people come into my world, introduce them to others, and then see those relationships flourish. That seems to be what happens most often - they form relationships with each other that are as strong, and sometimes stronger, than the relationship I had with them. Yet, even when they already know the person sometimes before I introduce them, they don't seek to form a relationship until we all come together for some reason. I am continually puzzled by human interaction - or more accurately by the lack of it.
Then there are people who have been friends for a long time, and don't seem to fit the typical pattern. But there are others who profess to be very close to me, who I also feel close to, but have no real need of seeing me or making connection with me. Few relationships can survive that - some can - but they are rare. I make the effort, repeatedly, to have that connection and a few weeks ago I just decided I was done with a lot of that. (See post about Some Days you're just Done) There are people in my circle who rely on me to be the social catalyst, to organize, plan and host the gatherings.
Where I'm from it's socially understood that if people turn down your invitations three times, they're not interested and you should leave them alone. I have broken that convention many times since I've lived in Kansas - I don't know what the rule is here - but I think I'm about to stop making so much effort.
I am available. I am reachable. I am open. It will be curious to see who invites me into their world, instead of only accepting invitations into mine. My guess is that I'm going to have more time for blogging, and if so that's what is meant to be. I hope I am surprised.
There are so many people who have been so important in my development as a human. I'm still mulling all that over. It does give one reason to pause and consider how things we do can have long term effects.
When Matthew and I were sketching a logo on a paper napkin at a deli years ago, we had no idea that would lead to the huge changes that came to a small village in Honduras. We never know what effect we may have. And we never know how we may be affected.