I’m the person you read about in books or maybe watch on romantic comedies. I’m always in search of ‘growth opportunity.’
It’s hardly a new concept or original idea. Visit any bookstore (if you can find one) or simply google and your head will instantly be filled with ways to find enlightenment.
I also happen to be a tragic ‘over thinker,’ which is both a blessing and a curse. The key to living in a head that never stops, one that has wheels on hyper speed is an understanding circle. A circle known by the rest of the world as girlfriends.
Girlfriends, the good ones, the best of the best possess a number of attributes which create the glue that makes it work. Personally, a few of my girls suffer the same ‘over thinker’ disease. Others offer the quality known as ‘squirrel’, i.e.: the ability to travel from one topic to another with one thought never coming to completion. Yes, a conversation spanning five different topics in a 20-minute period is not at all odd but common.
Side note: personally I attribute squirrel talk to motherhood. Think about it. Even with the most well-mannered children, as a mom you endure constant interruption. The ability to complete a thought or task without interruption becomes extinct from the day you give birth. Even when my kids are deeply tucked in bed I have my hand in multiple projects at once. Most moms do, I think it’s how we’re wired.
So as I greeted the New Year and my personal growth journey continued I began looking at and evaluating my friendships. Some are naturally more needy than others, some possessive, others judgmental and some plain toxic. This is the tough stuff, recognizing your own characteristics and how you all fit.
Truthfully, in my (untrained and unlicensed opinion) if you find yourself surrounded by friends in any four of those categories you may want to consider a ‘break.’ Now, if you’re fortunate or also known in my world as blessed you have a friend or two that you can share these thoughts with. Because what I’ve come to learn is the ones I truly value are the honest friends. Honest … having little to do with moral compass or truth in the traditional sense. Honest in the sense of agreeing or disagreeing with excessive over thinking or tough personal reflections. Those friends are the keepers. Oh sure, they are good at pointing out when I excel at something, but more importantly critical in the situation of yeah, you overreacted or suck it up buttercup.
Growing up is not easy. I use this term freely, because in all honesty I’m surrounded by a group of women who happen to take great joy in our childish side. The phrase ‘we are so 12’ is not uncommon as we giggle and find humor in what the sophisticated might find childish. We’re comfortable there. In no hurry to be ‘grown-ups,’ yet recognizing it has its time, place and necessity.
What I’ve come to identify most recently is that girlfriends, the good ones, the lifetime keepers are in a relationship with you not dissimilar than a spouse or significant. We don’t always agree, feelings get hurt and words get misconstrued (thank you text messaging). Yet, in time we talk. We share and we move on. It’s a strengthening component to the glue which holds it all together.
As an added bonus, you have the ability to be out of touch for long stretches of time but yet pick up right as if you spoke yesterday.
So, I can happily say in the way of growth opportunity, progress is happening. It’s happening however not because I’ve discovered some amazing book or magazine article. It’s happening because the cream does indeed rise to the top and I just happen to have a very full pot.
It’s best summed up in one of my most favorite quotes: “Here’s to strong women, May we know them, May we be them, May we raise them.” – unknown
It can’t get much better than that.
Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.