"Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom." -Marcel ProustSchedules and happenstance mean I’ve gotten to spend some quality time with old friends in the past two weeks. First up was a visit from my exchange sister from Germany last weekend. I hadn’t seen her in ten years. It was good to catch up, and strange to discover new parallels in our lives. This weekend, the Slambovian Circus of Dreams returned to town, and we had the honor of hosting them–and then attending their inspired take on a Christmas concert that ended with a spine-tingling mash-up of “Angels We Have Heard on High” and Van Morrison’s “Gloria”. The band’s ability to twist the familiar and make things deeper by mere juxtaposition is unlike anything I’ve heard from anyone else.

We didn’t get much sleep for all the charming gardening (meaningful talking about life, the universe, and everything) we did that made our souls blossom.


In all of these discussions, we came to the realization that while a natural consequence of talking through the night is a bone deep weariness, there is also a buzz of possibility and opportunity that opens our eyes to other perspectives. We’ve holed ourselves up at home more than ever over the past year as we’ve grieved our losses. It might be time to reach out to our friends and explore new avenues. It’s still mere words, but we’re feeling energized again.

Strangely, a friend from work shared a thought-provoking article about self-care that amplifies the sense our friends imbued in us. It’s incumbent on us to define the life we want, and build it in such a way that there’s no need to escape it. (Though… I will never stop reading fiction, even though it could be considered a form of escapism. It’s also an important element in my ongoing quest to become a better writer and a better person.)

That conclusion resonates in two articles related to maintaining a harmonious work environment that I ran across this week, too. The first is a short take on what makes great office culture. The second digs into what women need to be able to finally break through the pervasive corporate glass ceiling, which restricts women CEOs to 4% of Fortune 500 companies.

The unifying theme about all these articles and our discussions relates to self-knowledge and the capacity to understand our motivations and goals and be intentional in our pursuit of them. So it was funny to read an article about “fixing statistics” that said our problem in dealing with the big data mountains we’ve surrounded ourselves with has much more to do with misunderstanding our cognitive biases and inherent behaviors than any inability to crunch numbers. It’s a rich field to consider imaginatively. Even so, I was startled by the perspective on math as meditation in Nnedi Okorafor’s Binti when I read it this weekend. I will have to re-read it to dig into its unique take on futuristic scifi with a strongly ethnic twist. (Yes, I would HIGHLY recommend it to anyone who’s looking for an unusual take on the step a girl takes from her isolated community on earth across the stars to attend university. The novella has earned every one of its awards and nominations.)

As for steps, my phone says I averaged 5,270 steps–and I know I forgot it on at least one of our walks. So we’re doing much better about staying active. Even with the distractions of our friends.

The final two weeks of this final Round of this year are going to be very busy at the office, as we on-board two new employees and kick off the search for two more, as well as deal with quarterly reviews and Christmas madness. I’m sad that for yet another Round I didn’t manage any of my writing goals–even if I did settle into a decent rhythm with hubs and the pups regarding family time and exercise. I’ll keep reporting, in the hopes that I might surprise myself with productivity; in the meantime, I suggest checking in on the other ROW80ers to see how they’re faring.

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One thought on “Friends

  1. Friends can make life better, and help us shift perspectives. And they’d probably be thrilled to help you grieve and heal in any way they can.

    Sounds like you made some progress that will, eventually, make the writing goals come more easily.

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