Last year around this time, I wrote a blog post about the fact that I wanted to give myself more attention in 2013. Like a lot of busy people, I don’t always make myself a priority, and I needed to change that. Or so I thought a year ago, anyway. There was a lot going on.
Well, it’s been a year, and now I am well and truly tired of thinking about myself. Over the course of the year, I’ve spent more than enough time thinking about my health, my state of mind, my needs, and my future. One sore muscle or strange tingle sends me into a whirlwind of speculation. Each decision has me worrying about the next five. Good lord. That is enough.
This year, I’m resolved instead to be a better friend. I have a lot going on in my life, but I’m not the only one dealing with really hard issues. There are people who I know who have their own (very steep) mountains to climb. I know how much the support of my friends has meant to me this year, and I want to do whatever I can to help the people who are important to me feel equally helped and loved.
And not just because of big challenges, either. I just want to be a better every day friend. I hate to think about friends here in Vermont that I don’t see as often as I’d like. Or friends who live far away who I talk to once a year. Sometimes it’s hard to keep in touch, but it’s not that hard. I think, as with everything, it’s just a question of priorities.
Of course, being a good friend is a sneakily selfish resolution, too. By this age, I hope we’re all wise enough to surround ourselves only with people who bring cheer and a sense of well-being into our lives. The “friends” who made us feel guilty or self-conscious or irritable or just bored have drifted along the way. So resolving to be a good friend now is also a way of saying “spend more time with people who make me happy.” That’s not such a hard goal to set.
About two weeks ago, a surprise visit from an old friend reminded me of all of this. It reminded me that she makes me laugh and makes me think, that she is special to me and important in my life, and that being a good friend to her, as she has been to me, is worth infinite attention and care. Multiply this times as many friends as I’m fortunate to have around me, and it adds up to one busy but joyful year to come.
Thank-you for the small piece in MS Connection. The important thing for me is that MS crystalized my thinking as well. MS has a way of narrowing one’s focus to the things that are actually important, the vital things like loved ones and a dearly loved profession. Keep up the focus. It has worked for me for the 35 years I spent with MS (so far!)