Friday, November 19, 2010

Saying Goodbye

When people move away, they often take leave of friends with promises to keep in touch. They plan to get together at times and to remain friends. That usually doesn't happen. Distance interferes with relationships. Of course, some long-distance relationships can be maintained with much effort (phone calls, letters, pictures) and sometimes an old friendship can pick up right where you left off when there is that rare chance to visit and revel temporarily in the closeness you once shared. Nevertheless, at the time of separation, those intentions to Keep In Touch provide comfort during the transition.

I'm wondering if the same thing happens when a person begins a new life. How long do young married couples remain in close contact with their single buddies, especially after babies arrive? Do widows continue to hang out with the couple-friends they once enjoyed being with? When a person leaves one lifestyle and begins something very different, it may be wishful thinking to plan to hang onto certain aspects of the former lifestyle. But is that wishful thinking part of how we cope with change? If I begin to work outside the home and have to admit to myself right now that I will have to give up writing and bread-baking and daily chapel and online friendships, will that make the prospect too overwhelming to contemplate? Or do I need to be honest with myself about those things so that I don't beat myself to a pulp trying to do it all?


  1. Oh, Susan . . . .

    I can't answer this question because it would be entirely self-serving. Because I am so, so selfishly sad at the thought of your giving up several of the things in that list. :*-(

  2. But can I just say . . . imso (in my selfish opinion) the bread-baking should be the first to go. Hang on to the rest as long as you can. Please?

  3. Noooooo! Not the bread baking! The delicious, healthy bread! Ah!

    In all seriousness, though, I'm a big fan of the "wait and see" approach to life. When I know that big changes are happening, I prefer just to "wait and see" what will happen, rather than trying to figure out ahead of time what I will or won't have to give up, or what will or won't change, or whatever. Because (for better or worse) almost nothing ever ends up the way I imagine it will. And usually things are better than I think they're going to be.

    That doesn't make the change any less difficult. But I'm not sure "being honest with ourselves" is always as honest as we think it is.

    And sometimes things don't have to be given up ENTIRELY - only in part. And the change is just learning how to do less of whatever we were doing before, not giving it up altogether.

  4. I like what Nathan said. :) And sometimes the changes bring about new people in our lives that we add to the special folk that are already in our lives and life becomes more sweet.

  5. I agree with Nathan-- just wait and see. It's hard to know how things will turn out once you start working.

    That said, it might be a good idea to have some sort of mental list (which you do) of things that *could* be cut back on (or out) so that when you're feeling overwhelmed you can say to yourself, "No! I'm OK; I don't have to do x today."

  6. I like Nathan's thoughts a lot. You have a wise son-in-law there, Susan.

  7. For all you people who say you like Nathan's advice, you must not know me as well as you think you do. If I wait and see how things turn out, without a plan to get the work done that needs doing, I will end up spending far too much time sitting at the computer, catching up with friends on the weekend and spilling the contents of my mind out into my pensieve/blog. And then what happens to supper? Then the cleaning doesn't get done and that gets me down. Then I don't find things for Maggie to do while I'm gone, and she vegs in front of the television. I have to know when I'm going to buy groceries, because if I don't plan it out, and if I can't go whenever I want, I will end up going at 11 pm and shorting myself on sleep. As things have stood for the last month, I am struggling to prioritize and resign myself to "necessary things" remaining undone. And that's when I've got total control over my entire week. Those priorities and plans are going to have to be readjusted if I'm taking 24 hours out of my week. People cannot do it all. And people who try will crash&burn. Trying to be more efficient will not be enough. Hacking things off my A-list (and probably B-list too) is going to be necessary.