Monday, December 8, 2008

Year 54

Year 54 and counting. As I get older I am more aware of the tension - the tension between finding my own voice and the need for community and relationships. I say that I couldn't care less about what others think but I don't know if that's true or not. I suspect I care very deeply. I have seen so many people come and go in my life for one reason or another and now I have so few good friends. At this point, I'm trying to learn how to hold onto these relationships with a healthy grip.

I took some time this morning on the day of my birth to reflect on where I stand on relationships after 54 years. I am still so insecure on where I stand with people and I find that pattern so frustrating. I know it's a pattern. This morning I was recalling my relationships with my parents and how that formed this pattern of insecurity over the first 18 years. I was never really certain where I stood with them. My parents fought as if my sister and I were not present, not really there. We could be going down the road at 60 miles an hour and mom would threaten to jump out of the car. My sister and I sitting in the back seat trapped and stunned. So many thoughts going through our young minds regarding our mother and our future. We saw enough violence that we learned relationships can turn on a dime.

Fifty four years and I am still trying to change this pattern. I am healthier in the sense that I have little or no tolerance for being treated as if I'm not present. At 54 I don't have time to be treated as if I don't exist. I am still working on finding ways to accept relationships for what they are and trying to have realistic expectations. I will be working on this the rest of my life because the old pattern is so embedded in my thoughts. The awareness of this pattern is a gift and allows me to step back and examine my responses to people. The biggest hurdle for me is accepting the fact that people are okay spending time with me. I know I have some attributes that people don't necessarily want to be around like sounding like a "know it all". I know it can also be very difficult being around a person dealing with depression and low energy. Some fun! At the same time, I know we are always extending grace to each other in one way or another. Grace allows us to truly be present in the life of each other.

Community and relationships are our most valued possessions as we get older - our most difficult and precious gifts. I still have some time and I hope some day that I will know how to receive and give these gifts.

6 comments:

clhsketch said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
clhsketch said...

As your friend, here's my two cents, birthday edition. Life's too short to constantly be second guessing yourself. You are an intelligent, wise, grounded, caring, and beautiful 54 year old woman. Reflection is good and birthday's are a good time for reflection. Don't be too hard on yourself.

Love ya,
Cortney

Kelly said...

I'm amazed that we're friends at all since I have all the same relationship issues that you have!!! Sounds like we're reflecting on some of the same stuff these days. I value your friendship and enjoy being around you. You make me laugh and I know you're there if I need you. I've been struggling a lot with those relationships in my past that didn't last. Most likely the topic of my next blog.

brian said...

Deb,

It sounds like you're processing through the "wounds" that we all have in one way or another. It's amazing to me that even as an adult, I have difficulty in relationships largely based on the difficulties passed down from my parents. I've escaped some of that stuff. But, I can't say it is all behind me. I guess it never will be. But, recognizing it is the first and most difficult step.

Introspection and reflection are nice to do sometimes. Birthdays seem to be a natural point for that type of thing. But, like Cortney said, don't be too hard on yourself.

There's a book with a much better title than the content. The book is "Everybody's Normal Until You Get to Know Them". We're all "odd" in some way. We need to each embrace our uniqueness instead of fighting it.

Namaste,
Brian

Cyndi said...

Well, all I can add is that, girlfriend, you are stuck with me whether you want to be or not! Hard to get rid of someone who lives across the street! :o)

Seriously, we have known each other for about 21 years now and our friendship has grown and evolved tremendously each year. It's a very comfortable, easy relationship - and I believe you know that I am now and always will be here for you whenever you need me (as I know you are for me). You are so wise and I love to just talk to you about "things" because you always see the side that I, for whatever reason, don't see. Our relationship has grown naturally over the years and I just want you to know that I value you and what you bring to my life. Here's wishing you many, many more years filled with the people that love you!!

Always,
Cyndi

Deb Wiggins said...

Thank you for your comments. Cortney, I could say the same for you because you are an old soul in a young body. I trying to be realistic in examining my part in developing relationships and keeping them. I know there are so many variables when it comes to maintaining relationships that I can't assume responsiblity for them all - just the ones I can control.
Brian, thank you for the reminder that we're all dealing with something. I saw Carrie Fisher on the Today Show this morning and she said take a year to get through whatever it is that you're dealing with and then start making light of it. She said having a sense of humor is really an effective way of dealing with stuff. I agree with her completely!
Kelly, I think we all have some insecurities when it comes to knowing how other people perceive us. As Brian said, we're all a mess!
Cyndi, thank you for your kind words. You're right, there are some relationships that just get more comfortable over the years. I am trying to learn to trust that.