A long time friend wrote me yesterday and gave me a little heck for not making time for them. It’s a real life friend who’s really a favorite and I’m always stoked when I come across them out in public. “Friendship is about participation, ” they wrote, “You don’t do that. At least with me. I’m not going belabor it. It’s not the first time by far. I know you have the time crunch thing. I’m OK with that. I don’t need your regular participation. Just quality participation. You’re so busy juggling so many things. You don’t see the wake behind you, pure and simple. You have been doing it for such a long time it doesn’t register. Surprising you don’t burn out, or become bipolar over it. I used to know people that would do loads of coke, probably doesn’t come close to your level of voluminous thought or work. Anyway it’s probably not going to change and you don’t seem to be able to connect with this. I’m dropping it. Now. Good luck. You call this loving what you do.” Ouch. Point taken. I can’t disagree. I know in living the way I do, and doing the work I do, I forego a lot of social interaction with friends by choice. Sure, work is always waiting to be done, but it’s always my choice in the moment whether “working” or socializing will bring me the most personal reward and satisfaction. It’s seldom about anything else.
I used to commit ahead of time to doing things with friends, yet when the time would come and other priorities came to the fore, I’d often cancel plans and opt to do what I felt was the most important or the most fun. That didn’t win me any popularity contests and ended up with friends getting ticked at me. I learned to stop commiting to be anywhere. If the time came and I wanted to make myself available, that was when I knew I’d attend. Friends know now that if they want to know if I’ll be somewhere, they’ll call or text me 20 minutes beforehand and see if I’m on my way.
It’s not that I don’t want to see them or hang with them, it’s just that I’ve learned to follow my heart. And if my heart’s not in it, you won’t see my body there. If my heart’s not in it, I get my hands out of it, period.
Do I have commitment issues? You can think of it that way. I call it not being tied to one thing when my heart’s in something else. I can’t even commit to buying ripe bananas. I love bananas. I especially like to buy green ones. The yellow ones bring up all my commitment issues. Will it be ripe before I’m ready for it? Will I place yet another banana in the freezer for that smoothie that never materializes? Will I guilt trip myself for doing that? Will I beat myself up for guilt tripping myself?
Buying yellow bananas can bring up all sorts of issues if I’m not careful. But when I buy green bananas, well, that changes the storyline! I begin to look forward to them turning yellow. Every day I walk by and wonder how much longer they are going to take. Sometimes they play really hard to get, taking a week or more. They know that gets to me. They like to play with my head. They are playing coy Venus to my Aries Mars. And yes, I know if I keep up like this I may find myself at the end of my life, me and my computer, alone, holding my banana. But for now it’s my recipe for peace of mind.