Last week I was feeling very out of sorts. I was doing that whole (pointless) survey of my life so far that always gets me grouchy. Don’t get me wrong. I do love my life. I have a wonderful husband and three amazing kids. I am able to stay home and have a job that I love. I mean, really, what is there to be out of sorts about?
I suppose it had more to do with the “Who Am I?” question rather than “Am I Happy?” question. Because I am happy. Sometimes I just get bogged down in my titles and not my personality. I became a wife at 20, a mom at 23, and a responsible (HA!) adult sometime in the past couple of years. Sometimes when I look at myself in the mirror I wonder who that middle aged woman is who is looking back at me. Mid-life crisis? Nah. Just an overall wondering if I have let who I need to be, who I should be and who I am expected to be push aside who I really feel I am inside. Does anyone recognize who I am inside? Am I still that person?
Then out of the blue like a cool glass of water for a parched soul, I got a phone call from one of my oldest and dearest friends. A friend I have not spoken to in years. As in well over a decade. He and I were inseparable in high school. We were like a comedy duo. Not only did we thoroughly entertain each other, we kept others in stitches. Oh, how we laughed together! But even more than that, we could tell each other anything. And we did. He knew me. I mean, he really knew me and everything about me. It was just the kind of friendship where I couldn’t hide who I was even if I tried. It was through our friendship I learned how to laugh through the tears, how to laugh at the ridiculous things in life and simply how to enjoy life and laugh my way through whatever comes my way.
We went to separate colleges. I got married. He moved. We lost touch. For years I looked for him. But? Sometimes you just need to fall off the grid to find yourself. I understand that. But now, we found each other again. And oh the laughter! We talked on the phone for well over an hour catching up on everything under the sun. Laughing at everything under the sun. Sharing the pains we went through over the years as well as the celebrations. It was like going back in time. Even after all these years, he saw me. He saw ME.
And I cannot even tell how much it meant to me and how much it soothed my soul. He said things to me that I needed to hear. I needed to hear them from him, to be precise. At one point after dishing and laughing and just sharing life, he got quiet for a minute and said, “Darling, you haven’t changed one bit!”
I blew him off and told him how much I had changed. How I had so many titles and so many hats that I barely recognized myself some days.
He laughed and said it again. “You haven’t changed one bit.”
I argued a bit more and tried to give him evidence of ways that I was not that fun loving, laughing, silly, optimistic and free spirit girl he used to know.
After a sigh (that really spoke volumes if you know him), he told me that after talking to him for just an hour and letting my guard down he could tell that I had obviously grown up in age and taken on adult responsibilities but underneath it all, I was still the same girl he knew and loved “back in the day” even if I couldn’t see it.
Even if I could not see it.
Sometimes maybe it takes someone from your past to see it. Someone who knew you before life piled itself on you. Someone who was there as you were becoming who you are today. Maybe it takes someone like that to hold a mirror up to your soul to show you that you are indeed still the person you have been missing.
I haven’t lost me. I guess I just sometimes forget to let “ME” out often enough to remember how much fun life is and how much I really do enjoy life, laughter and just being myself.
Boy am I glad I didn’t screen that call. I would have missed an hour of laughs and a reminder of me.
Thank you, Harvey, my old friend. You always knew how to make me keep it real.