Are you the friend who always goes the extra mile in trying to maintain your relationships as you get older? You know, the one who calls first. The one who keeps a list of your most important college buddies so you can meet each one at least once a year. You are? Funny, me too.
I’ve heard this, “Me too,” quite often. It led me to a theory: If everyone has 20 or so friends they want to keep close ties with as they age, but the circles barely overlap from one person to another, everyone will be the “I-always-put-in-the-effort” friend – at least some of the time. That means we could have a system in which everyone is annoyed that they’re shouldering most of the responsibility, even though everyone carries the same weight, just at different times.
Here’s an alternative: We all relax. We call who we want to call when we feel like calling them. We don’t fret whether we’ve last seen each other six, twelve, or 15 months ago, and we just enjoy each other’s company when we do.
In essence, we stop. We stop and realize we are grown-up people with a million responsibilities knocking at our door every morning, and that we should feel proud and happy for answering the door at all, even if we can only pick and satisfy a handful of our infinite inquiries on any given day.
You don’t have to go to every wedding.
You don’t have to show up at every birthday party.
You don’t have to call your family every week.
You don’t have to get every health check-up exactly on time.
You don’t have to sort your holiday photos within a week after coming home.
I know it’s tough. We want to do these things. We want to be good people. Responsible adults. But we can’t cease to exist over a perfect ideal we’ll never attain. Sooner or later, everyone drops something. As long as you’re mindful of what you drop, however, even a “No” can be an act of service.
Give up being Mr. or Mrs. Got-It-Covered. That’s a game you can’t win. Just take life one day at a time, put yourself first, and smile when your phone rings, showing an old friend’s name on the display.