The Four Things I Learned on August Fourth

Good Things Come In Four

No – this one is not a book review, but its still a good post!  Today is the day, when I was born…27 years ago. Today is my birthday.  This year I have been doing a lot of thinking and reflecting on life, where I have been and where I want to go.  There are a few things that I have learned while reflecting on the good, the bad and the in between. So here it is –

The Four Things I Learned on August Fourth

1. Family is everything. Hold it close.

I’m blessed with a large family, on both my mother and father’s sides.  One thing I have learned is that your family is like a built in peer group.  They are your best friends.  You have your differences and you might even argue – but they are you family and there is a bond there that no one else will be able to form with you.  You’ve got built in best friends.  Reach out to them.  Love them.  Party with them.  Call them – and reconnect if they are far away.  When you make time for your family, it’s always a good time.  There will be people that turn on you, or turn away from you.  Some will hurt you or choose not to spend time with you, and that will hurt.  But the rest of the family will be there and when that person chooses to come back into the group you will all be there, because that is what a family does.

2. A few great friends are better than a lot of average ones.

Maggie Biking as a KidIt is so much more meaningful to have a close group of friends than to struggle to hold onto every friendship you have ever formed.  That is exhausting.  You cannot keep up with everyone and make time for them.  Sure, Facebook helps.  I experienced that first hand today as it explicitly helped me reconnect with friends from all over the place by allowing them to easily wish me a happy birthday.  I am so glad to have all of these friends and that they have chosen to remain a part of my life.  Growing up, I was spoiled and hand a second home in the mountains.  We would spend our weekends there biking and hiking and skiing.  Over time I developed two groups of friends – one at home and one in the mountains.  Sometimes the ones from home would come up with us but that did not happen all of the time.  Well, when you are gone a lot, you quickly see who your true friends are.  They are the ones that wait patiently to catch a day or a weekend with you rather than pressure you to always be there or turn on you for not being there.  Needless to say there are a few people in your life that will do that for you, so right now, I still have two groups of friends.  Both are small but both kick ass. I used to be upset that I had such few friends and it made me feel like there was something wrong with me or the way I chose to live my life.  But now I realize that it has made my life what it is – and that is awesome.

3. Your friends don’t have to be like you- they don’t have to be your age, gender, religion, share your political beliefs or even your passions.

I’ve been blessed with friends of all ages and the best ones are always pushing me farther, challenging me to grow and learn new things, cheering me on and refusing to coddle me when things are down.  They provide insight into life and keep my focus on what is important.  Almost every weekend I am biking or skiing with a group of amazing people, all of whom are closer to my parents in age then they are to me.  Some people think that I am weird for choosing to spend time with these guys.  The truth is that these friends are so awesome that I would be weird to choose not to spend my weekends with them.  The group is made up of all different ages, socio-economic, political, and spiritual backgrounds.  Our differences are what make each of us unique and allow us to offer something different to the group.  The group is better because of it.

4. The written word is one of our greatest treasures, and books are more precious than jewels and diamonds.

I spoke earlier about the different types of friends that we are blessed with.  I count my favorite books as friends because when we dive into their pages they are there for us in the same ways – challenging us, inspiring us, comforting us, and encouraging us to grow.  A great book is like a friend that will never turn their back on you, and they will continue to teach you long after you discard them.  When you’re ready to pick them back up again…they’re right where you left them, waiting for your return.

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