Live A Little: Friendship

Friendship connections are key in my life. My friends have seen me through some tough times, from losing my parents too young, to moving to a foreign country alone. My friends have been with me through relationships and through financial struggles, including a short sale on my dad’s house; after paying for two houses for more than three years. I have excellent friends and they have been there for me when I’ve needed them, they still are. Today my Live a Little post highlights friendships in my life and how they help me Live a Little every day.

Bonds of Friendship

The reality is that sometimes I am closer to my friends than I am to members of my family. That isn’t deliberate, but more about my choice to live abroad. Living as an expat in multiple locations around the world, means you develop very close friendships. Your friends essentially become your family. In addition when you choose the lifestyle of an expat not everyone in your family embraces it, understands it, or likes it. When I accepted my first overseas job my family had mixed reactions. Some were happy for me, others thought I’d lost my mind and still others were skeptical. Friendships are key in moments of life when you step out on your own, and especially when you move to the beat of your own drum. My friendships fall into several categories and they are all important to me.

My Oldest Friends

My friend Renee has been my friend since I was 13 years old. We know each others lives in and out. She knows my family, she’s met the men in my life and she understands me. I treasure her friendship and I appreciate that her family has embraced me and been a support as I make my transition to finding a job overseas.

I met my friend Pam in college, she lived down the hall from me in my co-ed dorm. We have known each other through the stress of college exams, boyfriends, husbands, ex-husbands and my many moves around the world.

The Guam Girls
Then there are the Guam Girls, these are the women I met when I made my first international move. We all met in our first days and weeks on the island of Guam. We have stayed close over the years and the last few years we’ve made it a point to get together annually for a three or four day weekend of fun, now with husbands and families in tow. These women went through the same crazy move to an island in the Pacific experiences I did. We taught in many of the same schools and traveled together throughout the Pacific. We learned together about life as an expat. One of the Guam girls and I, Myscha have also made the same work/life transitions with continuing to move around the world. She too has embraced a career transition of writing as well as pursuing educational jobs. That has deepened our friendship.

Guam Reunion
Guam Girls with their kids at an annual get together.

Bonding Through Shared Grief There is a deep and shared understanding of love and friendship between my friend Lisa D and I. I call her my soul sister. I met Lisa when we were both new teachers in Hawaii, at a Japanese Buddhist school. We started our jobs at the same time and both of our mothers had been diagnosed with Lung Cancer. Our friendship began as a shared pain, and a deep understanding of what the other faced. We remain good friends. Though she lives in Hawaii and I haven’t seen her in years, I love her dearly and treasure her friendship.

The Berlin Bond
That’s what I call my friendship with Susan, Kevin and Carol. They were part of my original orientation group of teachers hired to teach in Berlin, Germany. There is little that creates a stronger bond than serious life changes. Try moving to a foreign country alone, where you don’t speak the language and every day is a BIG adventure. You will rock your friendships.

You will be there for each other when you can’t figure out your internet service, when you can’t read the menu, and when you try to pantomime the right washing machine hose needed at the German version of Home Depot. You laugh together and you cry together; you bond and the friendships that are lasting. Susan knows me like few people do, and I treasure my friendship with Susan and her husband Kevin.

Carol and I were both single women and we developed a close friendship through our love of travel, fun and exploring. I treasure her friendship and those of many others I have known around the world and in my own home state. There are many more friends who share special moments in my life. Cathy Busch, Dory Chang, Kathy Rodondi, Pam Hoose, Dave Cruz, Ginny Corey, Sandra Foster Edwards and Patty Brightbill, you all come to my mind. You have shared laughter, dinners, phone calls, insight and friendship. I appreciate all of it and each of you.

A New Chapter
When my dad died unexpectedly, I was forced to move back to the states from Germany on 12 hours notice. I had exactly three friends in the Tampa Bay area. They were overseas friendships that really helped me. In addition to that my dad’s girl friend Cathy introduced me to her girl friends and over time the four of them became treasured friends of mine. They’ve shared their lives, their insight and their friendship with me.

New Connections and Friendships

My love of travel and writing has given me opportunities to make new connections and build new friendships through press trips and shared travel experiences. I meet other women and men who love the same things I do and that’s added to my blessings. My friendships really are a staple of my life. Friendships are one way I Live a Little and treasure life. How are you going to Live a Little this week? Join us at Skimbaco Lifestyle and share your post about how you are embracing life to Live A Little

Healing With Time Part Three: Heal Your Heart a Step at a Time

Finding a Way to Heal Your Heart Takes Time

Love

Trishhhh Flickr

Honestly, it takes allowing yourself to feel the hurt, the anger and the pain of your grief. The relationship is gone but, the grief takes time. You can only move forward when you’ve faced what you are feeling. The way to heal your heart is to look inside and examine what you’re heart and head are feeling. It sucks, I know. I’ve been there, a few times. Most recently two years ago this April.

Heal your Heart a Step at a Time
It was a long road of healing for me. You can read a couple of my previous posts detailing my experiences. What I can say with honesty is that with time you will heal your heart and be happy again.

I’m Happy Again
I’m now happy and looking forward to new life experiences, love and travel. It took time. I’m not going to sugar coat it. For the first year or more I couldn’t even consider dating. Now in the last few months I’ve begun to think I’d like to meet someone and embrace the joy of a relationship. So trust that you can heal your heart, I did.

Heal Your Heart in Small Steps, as You are Ready
There were tears, though fewer than I imagined. I was shell shocked for a long time and then I was angry.There was a lot of anger. There was deep loneliness and there was grief; grief at the loss of what I felt we had shared and built.

The Grief Takes Time
Expect your grieving to take time. You don’t heal a broken heart in a few weeks. Allow yourself time to process what has happened. My grief was particularly deep over the loss of a family. You see I had grown to love his two teenage children. His family had become mine too. I still love them and fortunately they still bless my life with their presence and love. Our relationship remains strong and intact. That is a blessing and a gift.

You Can’t Fake It
Children and teens know your heart. You aren’t going to bullshit them. They’ll see right through it. If you treat them right and you love them, they see it and they’ll feel it. I’m grateful for the relationships we three have built and I make it priority to maintain the relationships with love.

Heal Your Heart as You are Ready
Don’t rush, don’t fret that you should be over it, give yourself time. Honestly though I miss the closeness and comradarie of a relationship I knew I wasn’t ready for another yet. I’m not the type to hop from ship to ship on a journey. I’d rather enjoy one ship and savor it.

A New Beginning
I’m a woman in the prime of my life (40’s). I’d love to be having great sex right now. Yet, I want the closeness of sharing it with someone I care deeply about. For now I focus on adventures, travel and building my writing career. If you are working to heal your heart I recommend you take it slow. Be mindful of where your head is and the state of your heart. You want to heal; not create further gushing wounds.

You Will be Happy
Happiness is a state of mind, you will be happy again, if you choose to be. It’s your life, you can make it anything you want it to be. Being single offers you new options. For me it offers opportunities to travel and explore the world. I didn’t expect to do it alone again in my 40’s but I’m not sitting at home on the couch waiting for my life to start. I’m embracing it and I’m planning a journey to live abroad. Where better to enjoy life and love than another country where you can embrace life in another culture.

The Irony of Healing

Our Experiences Can Overwhelm Us
There are times when our experiences overwhelm us. When what we face and experience feels like more than we can handle.  A couple weeks ago I had a strong feeling to write about the healing that had taken place for me this past year after the end of my relationship.  When I wrote my previous post  spirit gave me about two good hours to soak up a feeling of having really made progress in my healing and then WHAM, I got slammed with another wave of loss and pain.

Stunned
I was stunned to learn this man, who I had loved, had married the previous day. He didn’t even have  enough respect for me to tell me himself. Does that surprise me? Yes and no. Yes, because I expected  more from a man who professed to love me just one year ago. I would have also expected a basic respect for the relationship we shared.

In Retrospect
In retrospect there were times in our relationship when I felt he didn’t know how to respect a woman fully.  When I felt disrespected and told him that. In that realization, I’m sad and angry. It makes me sad to realize he didn’t learn from the mistakes. Respect is not negotiable.  It was his responsibility to tell me himself that he was getting married.

What Have I Learned?
I’ve learned that there are men who simply don’t understand when they’re disrespectful to the people in their life. What I will say is that the karma of his behavior and the way he treated me will someday touch his heart. We can never make choices and hurt people without knowing that hurt and that pain ourselves at some time in the future. I’ve seen it happen, I’ve felt it happen in my own life.

Well Wishes
I wish him well, I truly do. I’ve been married. I understand the commitment of marriage. I wish the best for anyone who makes that kind of commitment in their life. For me I’m finding peace and releasing my pain. There are men who know how to completely respect women. I’ve been in relationships with men who are deeply loving and respectful. In the last two weeks since I received this news, I heard from someone I dated almost 20 years ago and his thoughtful comment about what I’d done for him, and what it meant to him was God’s way of reminding me,  there are men who actually appreciate the energy, love and kindness I bring to a relationship. That was the reminder I needed after this experience.

It Isn’t Always as it Seems

Reflection
I was rereading some of my old writing, reflecting on how far I’ve come with my websites, writing and efforts to help others heal and I came across this one. There are so many moments in life when we face challenge, pain and doubt. There have been many moments when I felt others judging my life. It was during that time when I wrote this post. It still holds true and I hope it will touch my readers and remind them to take a step back and reflect, rather than make a quick judgment on those in their lives.

Life Isn’t Necessarily The Perfect Picture it May Seem
A degree of sensitivity is necessary when we make judgments on situations and people in our lives or those we encounter in our day. We never really know the space from which another is coming and despite appearances we need to to take a deep breath and realize life isn’t necessarily the perfect picture it may seem. I think at times people judge situations and circumstances without realizing in any way the depth of the situation or the complexity involved. I’m certain I have done the same thing without realizing it.

Take a Step Back
So next time someone’s life seems ideal to you or easier than your own, take a step back and think again. Everyone has their challenges, responsibilities and pain to bear. It isn’t always as it seems.