The Business Plan That Had Nothing To Do With Me

An ex-boy-now-a-friend of mine was in town for a visit a couple of months ago and wanted to get together. Last time we saw each other, we were 20 years old and making lots of terrible decisions. As dramaticically driven twenty-somethings do. He ended up moving away for a job, we broke up and eventually lost touch.

During our visit we had a drink, caught up on life and talked about the future. He mentioned that he planned to move home again (my city) and wanted my help re-starting his business. We could be partners. I asked if his live in girlfriend knew about his plans and he said that she did, but that she would never move. It became obvious that they were on the rocks. Like, big rocks.

I figured the move-back-and-start-a-business plan was all just talk. Something we all do when we are looking for an exit from current life circumstances. Even so, we continued to discuss it after he left town. I kept checking on his commitment.

I’m sure you’ll change your mind, I texted.

Not changing my mind!, he texted back.

For weeks we talked logistics, timeframe and long term goals. As excitement grew, I began to think it could possibly work out. I allowed myself a measured amount of enthusiasm regarding the venture because I also knew that people rarely follow through with grand plans. This move-back-and-start-a-business thing was an obvious attempt to escape whatever shitstorm was happening back at his house. So I was playing it by ear.

Then everything went silent. He quit answering my texts.

“I’m not surprised,” my sister said. “People are shitty.”

“I’m not surprised he changed his mind, but I always expected him to tell me when he had,” I replied. “Not just play dead!”

(His sister has confirmed he’s not dead, by the way.)

For whatever reason, he’s not interested in dealing with the situation.  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

People do weird things like this all the time. When I was younger, it used to upset me. I would get really wrapped up in figuring out the ‘why’ of it all. I’d take the disappointment personally. But now… now I just feel like people are complicated.

It’s not a personal thing. We all have our reasons. Our fears. Our insecurities. Our baggage. Our enigmatic actions are shaped by our own experiences and usually they have little to do with the people who are left wondering about them.

My Daughter Doesn’t Take Piano Lessons (And Other Things I’m Failing At)

“Mommy can I take piano lessons?”

I consider this request. I would like her to take piano lessons, but we have no piano. It seems unreasonable that I should go buy one. She suggests a keyboard. Even still. We’ve done dance, gymnastics, acting lessons, soccer and girl scouts. We participate in swimming and drama. Can’t I just let myself off the hook, piano-wise?

The other day, I was folding laundry when a commercial for paper towels came on. The mother just smiles as her daughter “helps” her by sloshing a ridiculously full bowl of soup across the kitchen to the dining room table. Mommy smiles as she notes that her daughter likes to help. Mommy is unfazed as she reaches for a paper towel.

I instantly hate the overly patient Bounty mommy, certain that there are real Bounty mommies everywhere and I am definitely not one. I would have shut down the whole soup carrying thing before she even took a step. I bet Bounty mommy even cooked the soup with her daughter. Meh.

I feel like the Queen of Hurry Up, You Have To and How Many Times Do I Have To Tell You. It’s a kingdom where my minions are Disappointment, Guilt, Remorse and Regret. I know I am not alone in this kingdom. It just feels like it.

I yell sometimes. My expectations are high. I have little patience. A lot of times, I don’t feel like listening to her stories. I cook a real dinner 2-3 times a week. I am on my phone too much. I should make her put her iPod away more. No, your bathing suit isn’t clean for camp. We should be working out together. I need to sign us up for some yoga classes. Yes yes, that would be fun and not at all challenging to fit into our packed schedule. Why aren’t we eating nice summer dinners on the patio more. We watch too much TV. I don’t like getting up in the evening to tuck her in. That is lame.

The other day, out of the blue—
Hannah: I’m proud of the life you made. Even though things didn’t go as you planned, you picked yourself up and built a nice life. You don’t live off of anyone. You did it yourself.

Me: If there was someone to live off of, I would.

Hannah: I’m trying to have a moment here.

And those are the moments when I know I’m doing more good than harm. I smile to myself.

There is no Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde here

Election season was rough, you guys. Signing on to Facebook was like walking into a field of landmines. So. Many. Memes. I couldn’t believe the bitterness that was happening between “friends”.

Meanwhile, I had a super close friend who I’ve communicated with almost daily for the past 12 years. We never have disagreements and act like fools, I thought. We’ve discussed everything there is to discuss, I thought. There’s nothing that we could possibly ever seriously clash over, I thought. Until we discussed the election.

All of our talks take place via instant message. So message by message this friend of mine, who was as close to the “perfect guy” as I’d ever seen, morphed into someone else. He started repeating talking points I heard on the news. The ones I turned off because they seemed to me to be coming from people from another planet. People who were super messed up. “Bad people”. But my friend had never seemed like a bad person. He couldn’t just suddenly be an ogre. What did it all mean!?!? Suddenly up was down. Down was up. It was all very unsettling.

This person I thought I knew suddenly seemed like a stranger as I realized it was more than just politics. It was a whole set of beliefs. How had I missed all of this? He was one of my closest friends. One of my favorite people in the world. There were few people on the earth I thought better of than him.

There was nothing I could do but to quit talking about it altogether and pretend it never happened. Except it had happened and it bothered me even though I knew it shouldn’t. And I tried to ignore it and push it away, but it still lingered in the back of my mind like that song you can’t get out of your head (Oh Mickey you’re so fine, you’re so fine you blow my mind, hey Mickey! ….What? I’m not old).

Several weeks after these exchanges, my friend asked me one day what I had brought for lunch. Since our conversations, I felt like he was a little more apt to get all Judgy McJudgerson on me. That day I had a meatless dish and I told him I didn’t want to say because he’d make fun of me. He didn’t understand that and said, “I’m not mean just to be mean.” It kind of jolted me back to reality and made me remember who I was dealing with. It was my friend, not a jackass.

So. It took me a little bit to realize that we are turning our friends into our enemies with the flip of a switch. One hot button topic and our friends are “unfriended”. They are still the same giving, loving, special people we have enjoyed all the other days of our lives, yet we let one certain type of disagreement change our view of them forever. Instead of looking at what they show us 99% of the time, we choose to take the 1% and blow it out of proportion.

I have learned that if my friend can be as wonderful as he is AND be a member of that party aka hold certain beliefs, then the people of that party can’t be all bad. Politics are polarizing. But we are all people with families and friends who are, for the most part, trying our best. We should see eachother as people first more often. I think it might help.
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