I used to have coffee almost every morning before work with a neighbor. Jokingly I would tell my buddy that I was there for coffee and conversation, but I really didn’t care much for the coffee. Companionship is something most single, older people desire. My platonic buddy and I have known each other at this writing for three years. We go riding on weekends weather permitting, and Saturday night we have spaghetti and watch silly TV shows together. Over the past year I had gotten into the habit of having coffee in the morning with him on my way to work. He used to be next door but he moved four houses down. Since our pups are litter mates, it started out innocently enough as me bringing my pup to play with his all day. Then I’d return to pick up my pup in the evening. It seemed easy enough since he moved so close.
One day we were having morning coffee and I was showing him pictures of a few items on my phone that I had purchased. I thought he’d be interested in them because earlier he had expressed an interest in similar items and he does not have the internet to look things up. As I was telling him about my purchases and talking about the lapis lazuli and coffee jasper I had purchased, he went through a curtain that is between the living room and the kitchen. I assumed he was getting another cup of coffee, so I kept describing the items and was telling him I was excited to be getting these in the mail soon. I ended my sentence by saying…
“…are you even there? No? Ahh I didn’t think so. Oh my.” Sigh.
My friend had gotten up while I was talking mid sentence, went to the bathroom and was gone for a good long time. When he retuned he sat down and just kept staring at the floor, or his coffee cup. He didn’t ask what I had been talking about. In fact it was if I was not even in the room. Sometimes I would end a sentence with a question and he’d just smile at me or stare at the wall as if he were oblivious. It was clear he had not been paying attention, or could not hear me, or both. A clear sign of not caring. Even though my friend’s normal nature is to be reserved and quiet, I felt this was rude behavior. I’d never do anything like that to him. So I excused myself and left for work saying I had to get there early. My feelings were hurt.
Since this was about the 20th time he had done the same thing over the past year. I wanted to make sure I was not at fault. Was I welcome? When it was time for me to leave he would say ‘do you have to?’ which showed me he wanted my company. Was I dominating the conversation? The next day I said almost nothing, letting him have the floor. You could have heard a pin drop the entire time. Over time I had dismissed all those other times I felt ignored. Was I nothing better than a babysitter? Over time I made hundreds of excuses for his lack of caring. But this was not working for me. Casper Milk Toast would have better manners. And in a way I felt I was being used to keep him company…while he was ignoring me!? That’s not good.
Conversations should not be one way. Otherwise you are just playing handball with the drapes. Our conversations had been mostly one way for a long time. My buddy is not the talkative type and can be reserved, and often very needy. But wanted someone to talk with, not to. This whole thing made me reflect on the status quo. Is it time for a change on some level? My intuition had been nudging me for some time, trying to tell me that I was spending way too much time there. Between going for coffee, picking up the dog after work, our riding and our Saturday TV night, I think my stop at his home were in the range of between 12 and 18 a week. I have a hectic enough schedule and wouldn’t it be nice to cut that down?
The energy of the current relationship felt wrong. I believe everything is energy and this felt like being mired down in the mud, not being in flow. Time for a change. Doesn’t have to be drastic either, let’s not throw out the baby with the bath water. Immediately after making this decision the energy seemed to be feeling better already. That’s my gut telling me yes, I made the right choice. That night I had a vivid dream of driving onto the wrong pathway. I had taken a wrong turn. I turned the car back around and it was easy to get back on the right path. This is a clear sign to me. Very clear, that I am making the right decision.
Rearranging my schedule to put me more in the center of my own life, taking care of my needs first was key. This would be new on an everyday level and on a life level. I had never thought of me first. I cut my visits back to weekends. Riding was the core of our friendship and that’s the only time I can do it. We’d keep our Saturday evening with spaghetti and fun TV time because we laugh the whole time. Laughter is good medicine. With my extra time, I could do more with my animals and my meditation. This would mean having a leisurely time getting out the door and enjoying the special energy of early mornings, which I love so much. Ah, yes, this was working for me! And it worked for my friend too. He needs to get out and meet other people, and maybe even hook up with a special someone. If I keep going over all the time, he’ll feel no impetus to change things, and that someone special would think he was already taken.
Putting myself first and making healthier habits was new to me. Brand new. But I am a firm believer in being the author of my own life. Check the energy to see if it all feels right. It was hard to make these changes, but part of the old me that felt loyal to a fault was gone. The thought it was okay to take time for myself was new and refreshing. This felt better on a whole new level.
Humans are hard wired to follow habitual routines. So that’s good news in developing a new habit. Just stick with it for between 10 and 15 days and you have a new habit. 🙂 Trust your gut when you have a feeling that you want to do that old thing, but you know you shouldn’t. Resist for a few moments, recognize that you want to change, and do your new thing. I found the resisting part to be the hardest. So I substituted a small activity like pouring a cup of tea or even kicking the ball for the dogs. It only took seconds of changing my activity to get past the urge to do the old thing. If you want to change, it won’t take long. Keep in mind that old habit will not want to die out those first few times you try and change your routine. Stick with it! Believe me, meditation practice will help you with tasks like these even though it doesn’t seem logical.
It’s healthy to make such assessments and change in your life. You don’t need an incident to wake you up. Check the energy. How does it feel? You can make small changes that make big differences any time you feel the need. Make sure you are spending time doing what is good for you, your growth, and then consider others. In a way I was enabling my friend to not get out and experience more of life, and meet new friends. This feels better all the way around. Why didn’t I do this a year ago? Let’s not go there, lol.
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