"Sometimes, friends are as family." - an inscription from The Secret Watch
A couple of weeks ago, I took a trip to Great Barrington, MA, to reconnect with myself and some friends from an online group through which we all met. On the way, I stopped in Lewiston, NY to visit my friend and long-time accountability partner, Winnie Anderson (I'm working with her on a re-launch of my book). She was kind enough to let me crash in her guest room on the way out and then she and her charming husband took me to lunch on my way home.
I'm pretty blessed to have such amazing and supportive friends. I didn't see myself as someone with many friends a few years back, and that made my life's journey pretty rocky most of the time. As outgoing as I am, it takes a LOT for me to connect to and maintain friendships. For years, I'd wished it wasn't so difficult, and it's something I've spent time focused on improving. You'd think it would be easy for me to make friends.
Life happens. People get busy. I get busy. For years, I took that busy-ness personally - and assumed they did, too. What I've learned over the years is that the stories in my head often keep me from enjoying what life has to offer.
It's been something I've made a point to work on and work through - thus the trip to Great Barrington. This wasn't an easy trip for me. Driving 12 hours cross country to connect with people I've only met once before - and some of whom I'd never met before - has been a "scary story" in my head since I left home as a teenager. It's not the drive that's the problem, I actually enjoy that part. It's the meeting "strangers" part that gets me wonky. But that's another story for another day.
I'm counting my blessings and recognizing more often just how many friends I'm truly blessed to have - and now, I'm seeing them pop up all over the country. All because I'm willing to drop my judgments about myself and just show up and be me as best as I know how.
Guess what? People have a chance to like the real you when you take off the mask and stop trying to be someone you're not. That's scary at first, but really rewarding in the long-run.
When I hear this song, I think about how Billy Joel left LA - a place where he never really fit in - and went back to his roots in New York - on the Hudson River Greyhound line, no less. He was ready to stop pretending and start living life on his own terms. That's part of why this song speaks to me and is one of my all-time favorite Billy Joel tunes.
This week's video features photos from my trip - and all the wonderful friends that made it so valuable for me. Many thanks to Melanie, Nicole, Lou, Deb, and Trisha for all their photo taking, and their permission for me to share these wonderful pictures from our time together.