One Picture, Ten Stories

“I don’t know why this picture is so profound to me.”

It’s because you are looking at the good old days, my friend.”

I was talking with  J  last night on Skype; he’s not my therapist, he’s more like a life coach, or perhaps a  Sherpa of sorts. J helps me climb mountains of doubt and assist me in scaling  hills of life challenges. Having known him for 20 years is a big advantage; we didn’t have to start at “Tell me about your childhood…”, we started with “How was your week?”

I like my weekly Skype with him because he calls me on my bullshit, reminds me that I’m not all that, and urges me to keep it real. He tells me when he is proud of me and when he thinks I’m being a dope. Unfiltered, unvarnished feedback from a confidant like him is some really good medicine. His predictions have been amazingly accurate. His wisdom is priceless.

I shared my laptop screen to show him a picture of some friends. The photo was taken New Year’s Eve at my home. This is a group I call The Tribe.

We’re an interesting mix of people, this tribe. We are very clannish, it seems; we like to do things with each other; we always do things with each other. We all have other friends and circles, of course, but this particular bunch always seems to coalesce. We spread out for a time, and then we amalgamate…for birthdays, holidays, football Sundays and other life events.

I found myself looking at this picture several times on Tuesday. I mentioned to J that I really appreciated those people, and was so grateful to have them, and so appreciative of being accepted by them.

This picture, so interesting to me, beckoning me back several times to look again, made me think. Liking someone is such a liberating feeling. When you love someone, you have accepted the responsibility of a heart- wonderful, but a lot of pressure. When you like someone, you get to experience them as you wish, and they experience you in kind. It’s not a transactional relationship.

              Who will see great change in your tribe this year?

Someone I used to know once commented that I should consider getting “better” friends- ones with more money and education and power. I recoiled at the notion. It suggested that a) these folks aren’t “good enough” for me, and b) resumes and remodeled kitchens are more important than support and a bond of friendship. I would do anything for The Tribe, if asked- and they would for me. That’s pretty incredible. Not everyone gets to have a tribe. I am lucky, beyond. These friendships are based on mutual respect. We have each others backs. That is priceless.

The picture was not only a reminder of my good fortune, it was a metaphor in still image.  Change is constant in our lives. The people in that photo are going to all experience great change in the upcoming year.

This New Year’s Eve can never be repeated.  J the life coach said I was looking at a memory. My feeling was not one of melancholy, but fascination.

One couple in my photo is going to have a second child in their family next New Year’s Eve. Another couple will be married. Everyone has something going on, and in 12 months all of our lives will be different.

You too likely will experience change in the upcoming months. The things that will happen are largely dependent on you, and what you will do with the opportunities that are presented.

Resolutions are overrated. Someone already skipped the gym today. Someone is going to shovel a Big Mac down their gullet for lunch. Someone is not going to do what they promised themselves they would do. This is what happens so often. Change presents itself, and we choose to ignore it. We do this all the time, all of us.

Change is headed your way. You (hopefully) have the support of your family and friends, and you very well may have a tribe of your own to help you. But you have to do the work. You have to make the change you desire, to be honest with yourself  and live the authentic life you want.

New Year’s Eve 2012 is going to be so fascinating. We will look back and comment how fast the time went by, and marvel at how different our lives are. Try not to delay change. Try not to resist it. Live, love and experience as much as you can. A life short on regrets is a good life indeed.

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