Saturday, August 21, 2010
It's only a number
I've been a busy lady these last several weeks with lots of events, travel, connections and reconnections taking place. When I sat down to think about how they all tie together and what I should build this blog entry about, numbers popped into my mind. Numbers. Numbers? Yes, numbers.
Normally I'm not a fan. Math was always my least favorite subject and my first fall from straight-A grace in grade school. If it weren't for a calculator and my slightly beyond basic knowledge of MS Excel, I'd be hard pressed to produce an ROI analysis for any of my clients. My finances are in order simply because I've learned to live within my means and avoid credit like the plague, not because I'm some budget whiz kid. I stopped wearing a watch years ago and there isn't much that I "keep tabs" on because I'm just not all that concerned with numbers in any which way. Think again, Jess. Numbers have recently revealed themselves to me in a new and definitely more interesting and meaningful capacity.
Last week I bore witness to the fact that the number of years that you know someone really can have a profound impact on the quality of your relationship. As a person who makes fast friends with great ease, I've never been particularly concerned or impressed by the length of any given relationship as an indicator of its strength or significance. But watching my mother with two of her very best friends, part of a group of women who have known each other for more than 40 years and have known me since I was in utero, I saw firsthand the magic of that kind of bond. Then a saw another nuance added to the mix when they were joined by a friend who they have known for just as long but have only recently reconnected with. It was spectacular. They were surrounded by a glowing energy that was palpable. I haven't seen my mom this happy in a long time, and I can't find words to properly tell you what that means to me. I, along with another daughter of the group, felt a complete and immediate sense of connectedness and familiarity as well, even though she and I were meeting for the first time and were not directly linked to this long standing bond. Why?
The why is in the numbers. The years of history that these women share. The sheer number of stories and experiences in their lives that the others feature in as main characters. The countless tears that spilled and laughter that erupted from their hearts. Not time nor distance can subtract from all that they have accumulated over the years, and it makes for a sum total of incredible, enduring sisterhood. It was inspirational to witness, and I feel blessed to be part of the next generation that gets to share in this bond.
Numbers have featured into my current story in another way recently. Age. Truly, in my humble opinion that I get to shamelessly flaunt since I'm the one writing the blog, age is one of the most insignificant numbers there is. This becomes particularly true as an adult. There is a big difference between a 12- and 22-year-old, but not necessarily between a 30- and 40-year-old. Now, don't get all bent out of shape just yet, "older" members of the audience! What I am getting at is that the number of years any one of us has spent inhabiting this planet in this particular life is not an indicator of our maturity, our emotional intelligence or our ability to connect and relate to people of different ages. Some of my best, closest, most trusted friends are 10 and 20 years older than me, and believe me when I say I relate to them far better than half of the 29-year-olds that I know. I do have some amazing friends my own age, but I have always been very comfortable in the company of people who's physical age is greater than mine. This has proven true in friendships and intimate connections.
Thanks to these last few weeks, I have a new appreciation for numbers. I honor long-standing relationships that have endured and flourished, new ones that have sent my heart spinning and soaring to unknown heights, friends that share the same birth year as me and the ones who are from a different decade altogether. You are all so much more than a number to me and added together, you are the joy, inspiration and support that makes my life a beautifully balanced equation. You have my gratitude.