Friends and Family are the Flowers of Life
I am completely blessed to have found good people in my life who keep me sane, functioning, and give me my "Come to Jesus" moment when I need it. However, as loving, supportive, and caring as all of my friends are, there are two to three that I turn to time and again. These women will listen to my insanity, call me on my bullsh*t, and then give me the most sage advice they can. Interestingly enough, while they are highly influential in my life, I've never felt that they have put their own interests in front of mine.
With that, I introduce Carol, Cassie, and my mom.
Carol is an amazing friend — loyal, passionate, loving, and deeply bright (although she doesn't think so). She paints herself as Eeyore because she doesn't go running to every new thing and bow down to it like it's the best thing since the last best thing. And thank the Gods for that!
Carol's job when we worked together was to stop me by asking very sane questions like, "And how is that going to work?" or "Do you have any idea how much time that's going to take?"
I know that seems negative, but by slowing down my natural inclination to dive head-first into the newest idea I had (leaving all the others half-done in its wake), she was helping me to FOCUS on what was really important. Even now, when we don't work together, she has that same reasonable response — how will that work, how much time will it take, do you have the resources to do it, who's going to help you, etc.
When I don't know, Carol might not either, but she'll question and push until an answer is found.
Cassie, however, doesn't ask. She tells. Yes, she is bossy (although she doesn't think so. We're teachers. We're ALL bossy). Since I've known Cassie since we were about 14 or 15 (which is 30 years now), she has my entire life history down. She knows enough about me to make money off the tabloids should I ever want to be a politician. As such, she has a pretty good clue when I'm being delusional or ignoring what I already know.
For example, I was lamenting a past position and looking upon it romantically, with flowers, lace AND rose colored glasses. Cassie immediately pounced on it, told me to knock it off, gave me my truth back, and told me to move on.
It's not that she's unkind, it's that she KNOWS that the best thing for wallowing in self-pity is not to join the party but to bust it up. As such, she gives very specific, prescriptive advice as to how to handle things. It's also quite helpful that she knows all the players. There's no trying to catch her up.
Finally, there's my mom. I know it's a cliche; however, if you'd seen us when I was a teen, you'd think this impossible. Over time, though, we've grown close. I know that, even when she's heard some variation of the story 30 times already, she won't interrupt and tell me so. She listens, compares to her own life, and then gives her opinion. She tries to be gentle when it's a person or topic on which we don't agree, and I appreciate that. However, she will not back down on her assertion — I suspect that more information merely sounds like trying to weasel your way out of the issue.
While I understand the idea of listing only one person, the FIRST person, you turn to, the fact is all these women are busy. I try each one and the first one that ANSWERS and has TIME is the one I turn to.
On one hand I have multiple people, on the other hand, I'm spreading the job of keeping me sane so one person doesn't have to bear that load.