As I did recently, reflect upon the year 2011: who of your friends would you, could you, walk a mile in their shoes?
All through 2011 my Sagittarius horoscopes repeatedly reminded me I should look to my friends & see what’s working for me, or not. I didn’t really take much notice as this wasn’t the answer to the question I was looking for.
However, very early one morning my not-really-awake-thoughts cast my mind over the times in 2011 where I managed to catch up with a few friends and as you do, chat about the ups & downs of our respective lifestyles. My city D.I.N.K. way of life suits me mostly but what works for me and works for my family & friends differs according to our choices and lifestyles.
I pondered who of my friends I could be if I had a holiday from being myself…
First, my country neighbour who I don’t see a lot but have always admired for all those things I am not. Without divulging personal traits let’s say even though I have mellowed considerably over the years, I am pretty structured in my ways, sometimes uncomfortably so. Of similar age to me, her youngest has just left home; she’s quit her job & ready for a new life. Since (and before) I have known her, in her yard & sometimes house, there has always been people of all ages and a parade of cats, dogs, chooks, geese, turkeys, ducks, birds, snakes, frogs, other miscellaneous wildlife & livestock from time to time… and any (ok, the many) who have gone to heaven have always been truly lamented. While chatting about neighbourhood wildlife, which we both love, she casually mentioned she has a bat living in her hallway and the only downside was the pile of droppings on the floor to be negotiated in the mornings.
Second, a family friend wrote “I don’t want or need any more. Not material things anyway“ in response to her niece’s Facebook post “I started out with nothing & still have most of it left”. Having visited her during my recent holidays I get this. She & her husband of 40+ years now live in a nice coastal town & have a modest, bright & welcoming home with an abundant garden, pleasant outside undercover space which is the most used area in the house, testimony to the many family & friends who congregate there. In earlier years she had 5 children, & the family did it tough. The kids all have done well & they have added 11 grandkids to the family. She’s bubbly, opinionated, busy, interesting and loves enormously.
Third, I caught up with an old school friend via a couple of phone chats & coffees. From my point of view she has a challenging but nice life and just doesn’t realise it. She’s done well despite several life experiences I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. She has a lovely partner & daughter who ok has a health issue, but despite her misgivings I believe my friend is handling it admirably. She lives in the country, has university qualifications, travelled around Australia & overseas, an old house & garden to play in, is a “proper” artist who exhibits & sells stuff, and has other rural type interests on the side. She on the other hand often voices as a city dweller with a job & no kids that I have a good life I possibly could do more with… what drag myself out to a gallery opening or write a chapter of a novel after spending 8 hours at my work desk & computer, hell no, not when there’s something convenient & trashy on TV to go with a couple of glasses of wine & takeaway? Just joking, I love to cook. It would be interesting to have a holiday being her, and it would give her a break, to visit the city, go to galleries & exhibitions, movies & concerts, all of which she loves. I expect we would both breathe a sigh of relief when it was time to return to our respective homes, and I suspect I wouldn’t cope anywhere near as well as she does.
There are several more, briefly…
A gorgeous friend who is just so alive, who handled a difficult marital separation & child sharing arrangements remarkably, who has recently remarried and managed to successfully unite & nurture her combined mob, and so much more. She is much loved by a wide circle of family & friends and deserves every bit.
A couple of interstate friends who I don’t see but who generously share their lives, family, friends, passions, humour & cats via Facebook. Their creativity, friendship and realness inspire me every day.
My [half] sisters, both under 30. We’re somewhat the same, somewhat different but they grew up in and live in a different generational era than I did, with its own benefits & challenges, and do it well.
Another school friend who has hitched up the bootstraps of her life, fights her battles with integrity & passion, if tired & anxious does it anyway and has faith faith faith.
Last but not least my best friend of omigod-30-years, the one who should write a book on her life, makes me laugh and never ever takes offence when I feel the need to say what’s on my mind.
As far as anyone I haven’t mentioned, let me say finally I’m blessed to have (& had) in various ways many wonderful women in my life who have left a smile & warm touch on my soul and taught me many things which make me who I am.
“If I could be you, if you could be me
For just one hour, if we could find a way
To get inside each other’s mind
If you could see you through my eyes
Instead your own ego I believe you’d be
I believe you’d be surprised to see
That you’ve been blind
Walk a mile in my shoes
just walk a mile in my shoes
Before you abuse, criticize and accuse
Then walk a mile in my shoes…”
Walk a Mile in My Shoes (words & music by Joe South) performed by Elvis Presley.
Shortly after I began WordPress blogging I came across Commonwealth Bank’s Women in Focus Global Blogger Search Competition – In My Shoes. It was a great opportunity to practise blogging and continue my D.I.Y. social media education. For me the prize was the process, although it would have been a hoot to travel to New York or Mt Kilimanjaro with Mrs S.
Fortunately several elladee post ideas leant themselves to the theme. Now the competition has ended I’m posting them as intended, with just a few edits thanks to wisdom of Robin Coyle.
This is post 1 of 4 of my blog “one foot in front of the other”.