So throughout different periods of your life you have different friends. Gradually, as you go through time, some fade away, some you keep in better contact with, some it doesn’t matter whether you only see them every couple of years – you’re still friends. Its just the way it goes. But its still odd. All my uni friends are gradually dispersing throughout the country – I can no longer go back to Swansea and see everyone from uni, because many of them are scattered around the country. Some are still there, and its great to be able to see them. But everything just takes so much more organising now. And although I’m making some good friends and I have Mr B in my New Home, which is great, I still like seeing my uni friends. As well as spend time with my new friends. No matter who I’m spending time with, I wish I could see more of someone! I know, its a balance. And part of it is needing more patience when there are long gaps between seeing people. But given that every day I don’t see Mr B, I miss him lots – lots more than other friends, then I tend to give him priority. And then I miss my uni friends. I know, I’m being silly. I saw a lot of uni friends at the weekend, so I can’t complain. I think I just hope that we don’t grow too distance. Facebook has recently taught me that a friend from year 7 / 8 in school got married a few weeks ago. I’d hate to find out over facebook that a close uni friend had got married in 5 years time.
Its odd how your own coping methods and relationships that you have with friends, etc, evolve over time. Evolve with situational changes within individuals lives. Its something I’ve noticed recently anyway. And I think ‘evolve’ is the right word, they build upon the foundations that were there before, but sometimes in unexpected way.
Over the past 6 months or so, my life has undergone quite big changes, with the move and starting a new job, etc. The quantity of friends that I have has increased, because I’ve met new people and made new friends. But within that move and that change, the roles of a lot of my friends has changed. I know longer see my Swansea friends on a week to week basis. And although generally the *amount* of stuff that I talk to them about hasn’t changed, the frequency in which we’re able to do so, has. Which makes sense, given the changes. I’ve also been developing friendships in my New Home and it feels good that I now have people here who I can talk to properly about stuff.
I’d also just like to take this opportunity to say thank you to a few friends (you’ll know who you are), who gave me some advice a year or so ago, which I recently recalled and it helped me mentally through a tough few days. It feels like, I’m taking the altered Swansea support and putting it with my New Home support, and being more independent as a result of both. I’m not entirely sure if that makes sense, but I know what I mean!
Is it just me, or do most people get moments when they wished they didn’t have to interact with others? When they didn’t have to have certain, awkward conversations? When they didn’t have to be assertive amongst friends and demand that specific things should be done? When they didn’t have to choose between two friends?
My job means that I have to have a certain level of people skills. I can’t avoid many awkward conversations in work. A lot of the time it isn’t my favourite part of the job, but I get through it and cope. It just feels at the moment, that I have a number of non-work related issues which are demanding me to have a number of awkward conversations. To say things which go against my natural way of working. To make difficult decisions and follow them up with difficult conversations. A lot of my natural instinct is to avoid confrontation. To settle things peacefully, without too much tension or awkwardness. Now hopefully, these situations will be resolved without too much tension or annoyance. But at the moment, just the anticipation of these conversations and situations is making me nervous. Making me think lots about the best way to go about things. Which is a good thing, to an extend. There comes a point where it is better to just go for it.
Deep breath. Here goes.
Some friends took me down to Rhosilli, during August when I had to go back to Swansea to make up time on the ward. I said I’d blog the photos and I didn’t round to it, until today. Some more photos can be found here. I really like the above photo, you can clearly see the lichen in the foreground and Worms Head is as stunning as ever in the background. Every time i see lichen now, I remember a friend of my parents who we met up with when I was younger, who was absolutely obsessed with lichen. He collected them. And he spent the whole day educating my dad about all the different types. For a while after that day out, my dad had similar excitement about lichen. We used to sigh and tease him about this brief obsession, but I did learn some pretty cool things about them during this period. They take years and years to grow just a tiny bit. So, the lichen in the photo above, has taken a Very Long Time to grow that much!
I was grateful to my friends for taking me down to Rhosilli that day. I enjoyed myself. Recently I have become very grateful for a lot of my friends. Old ones and new ones. It doesn’t matter where you live, friends can still give you support when you need it. Whether its a deep and meaningful conversation or a light hearted giggle or a random facebook hug, its fantastic that they are there. So I’d just like to say thank you – you know who you are.
I know my academic year hasn’t finished yet – that doesn’t happen for another 5 weeks when this placement is over, but I’ve had to buy a new academic diary because the old one will run out soonish. I bought an 18 month one so I can transfer over to normal years. Because in 5 weeks time I will have finished uni for ever. In about 10 weeks I should be a registered nurse. How scary is that?!
Anyway, I was transferring dates and birthdays from my old diary to my new diary, and reading everything that has happened in the past year as I went along. It was quite interesting actually. There were things like lists of things to talk to friends about when I rang them up, including initials for certain things/people. Knowing the context I knew what I had meant, and it just made me smile. There were other times when I looked at the page for a week and realise just how much stuff I’d (tried) to fit into a single week. How many different things I was trying to deal with at that time. Juggling, I think is the technical term.
But seriously, looking back I don’t know how I got through some parts of the past year. The other day I had a random deep and meaningful with a coursemate who is staying in the same B&B as me for placement. When I told her about some of the stuff I’ve dealt with in the past few months, she was astonished and asked how the hell did I cope with everything on top of third year academic work and placement. I said I didn’t really know how I’d coped. Then after some thought I said ‘my friends, and Him upstairs’. So a big thank you. You know who you are.
I’ve made it through uni, well just about. What next? Find a job. Hmm, if only it were as easy as it was to type those three words. I don’t really have a clue where I’ll end up working. Where theres a job. Where theres good promotion possibilities. Where there are friends. I doubt if I’ll find somewhere that has all three though! I need to think about where I really ought to be applying for, but basically I think I am going to have to go where ever I can get a job. But I will be back to visit Swansea. And once I’ve got some experience under my belt, I’ll have more job possibilities and could probably move back. I dunno at the moment, its all uncertain.
Independence is a funny thing. Its on the list of ‘things you take for granted, until you loose an element of it’. My Gran was dependent on her children and neighbours for the latter years of her life, but she had sneaky tactics to ensure she didn’t entirely lose her independence. Like putting the milk from the fridge in a plastic bag and looping it over the handles of her multi-pod sticks (or as we nicked named them – toe-crushers!), so that she could carry it into the kitchen table. This sneaky trick enabled her to have breakfast without any help from anyone else.
For reasons I don’t wish to discuss here, I have strict orders to rest for this week, at least. Thankfully I have amazing friends who are willing to put themselves out to help me, so I can rest properly. Its made me realise just how many little things I do everyday using my legs, which I now have to ask somebody else to do for me. But theres still this compelling urge to regain some independence and do some of it myself. Finding a way that it doesn’t hurt, so that I *can* do it. And of course, drawing the line at a sensible place – so that I *do* ask for help whenever I need it. But the placement of that line is difficult, especially as I can see a definite improvement in my health.
I will, of course, rest for as much and as long as I need to. But often its not as simple and clear-cut as that.
Recently I’ve realised just how lucky I am. And how grateful I should be for this. I have an active life in a beautiful part of the world. I’m healthy, or at least a lot healthier than many people. I have amazing friends and family, who surprise me with the amount of support they are willing to provide when necessary. I am nearing the end of a degree which (should) enable me to get the job I would like. And I generally feel I have a lot to be grateful for.
Sometimes I think its all too easy to get into a ‘life’s crap’ rutt. When you can only see your perspective. Say you’ve had some bad news – yes, you need some time for you to get your head around it, but often its helpful to take a step back. Look at the bigger picture. Think about others in worse situations. How bad must it be for them? There is *always* somebody in a worse situation than you.
I dunno, maybe it wouldn’t work for everybody, and certainly not for every situation, but I have definately found it useful. It suddenly clicks how lucky I am, compared to many people. Enabling me to look at life more positively and it is a good prompt to remember those who are less fortunate in my prayers.
Its strange. The way you can grow up with people, have known them all your life, and they now seem to live a completely different life to you.
I met up today with an old friend. We’ve known each other all our lifes. Our mums went to the same mother and toddler group, we went to the same playgroup, nursery, primary school, secondary school and sixth form college. I can remember being friends with her in primary school and although in secondary school we each found a different friendship group, we reunited at sixth form college. And I always thought we were relatively similiar. We came from similiar backgrounds, both from Christian families, and both had similar educational experiences. But now she seems so different to me. She’s going out with a guy she met over the internet, who lives in America. She has just come back from spending 3 months out there and now says she hates England and wants to move out there. When I knew her in sixth form, she was very involved with her church, but since meeting this guy she has left all of that behind. Shrug. Its her life and she can do what she likes with it. Its just amazing how much someone can change in 2 years.
Its like that with many of my friends now. Just because we’re all moved on, all leading different lives. At the moment they still cross paths once or twice a year, but mostly they are completely different. Another friend who I’ve known for a similar time, is currently in India with her boyfriend (what is it with people having partners aboard?!). We’ve all grown up. Grown apart.
In an ideal world, it would be great to be able to support everyone. Great to be completely objective. Listen to everyone. And offer everybody a shoulder to cry on. But unfortunely, as I have realised recently, there are limits on these things. In difficult, complicated situations, it is impossible to give everyone involved support. It simply ends up messing with your head, which means you can’t give anyone support. Hence I have decided who I am able to support, and I apologise to those who I have had to say no to. And I hope everyone can be sufficiently supported somehow.
Wow. I’ve just come back from a Show of Hands concert in Cardiff. It was great!!!! Just lots and lots of wow!!! Fab music, funny jokes and girlie friends. And lots of laughter – definately good after the stressful week I’ve had. I’ll leave it up to a certain, very excited Ramblin’ Folkie to blog properly about it, but I just wanted to say – wow!!!!! 😀 😀 😀