February 13, 2016

Love and Life and Friendship


     It's February. A month of snow and Valentine's Day. I have learned from Facebook that the holiday that is supposed to symbolize love and affection is hated by some. That seems odd to me. Is it defined to some as a day that they feel most alone? Is it that they feel they must have a "valentine" in order to embrace the day? Like any other holiday I see it as a marker, a day you can do a little something to show the people around you that you value them. Or not. I believe that Valentine's Day ought to be elective, like many things in life.
      I've been thinking about my life lately, and what a story a lifetime is. As long as I can remember people have told me I ought to write a book. Not a book like the ones I do write, fantasies fed from my experiences and emotions, but a book about my life. I think the same thing now that I always have: the idea sounds interesting. I have had a very interesting life, but it would not be a good idea to write about it. Why? Because I am opinionated. I know that about myself. I have strong ideas about myself and so I have them about others. I'm hard on myself and strive for the best in me and since I am looking at all of the world from inside my own head I tend to think other people should be that same way about themselves. It's a blind spot, I know, and I am opinionated about that as well. But it's alright, you don't have to like that about me. If we all felt exactly the same way about everything wouldn't people be terribly boring? There are plenty of people in the world, some we like and others not so much. That too is elective.
      Now, that is not at all the same as not caring about my fellow man. Whether or not it's Valentine's Day, I care about many people. I have just learned, as I grow older, that I don't have to like them all or be like them or even agree with them. I allow myself that now. I believe it as one of the perks of growing older.
      And so, in the real story of my life the characters are sometimes changing. Friends I had as a child are no longer in the story of my life. Some of them simply grew up and away. That continues to this day. I think that's okay as well. In today's world, especially with social media, when you choose to drop someone from the story of your life it is rather visible. They might have been fading from your story for years, or just no longer belong there, but in this world of the future it looks sudden and suspect. Now it is harder to allow the characters of your life to change naturally and I'm not sure I like that. 


      Someone told me that online friends are not like real friends. How confusing. I have many online friends whom I consider real friends. As well, I have online friends who are people I have never met face to face. Are they the ones who are not real? How do I define the difference? Are real friends the ones who pick up the phone or see you face to face? Then the rest fall into some kind of friend limbo? It's confusing and I suspect it is a question I might spend far too much time pondering and still never be able to solve.
      So, instead of trying to answer another of life's impossible questions, I'll do this instead. I will take Valentine's Day and spend a moment appreciating all of those people who are the current characters in the story of my life. Those friends and family who I see often, the ones I look forward to embracing and those I know I can reach out to, right now, today, and share my love and appreciation. Tomorrow the cast might change. But right now, they are the characters in the story of my life. One thing I do know, every one of them is indeed a character.

Happy Valentine's Day, please come again!


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