While I take extreme pleasure in my alone time, I sometimes wonder if I spend too much time alone. I have just a handful of close friends (which is how I like it) and I actively recognize how important cultivating and maintaining these relationships are to living a satisfied and fulfilled life. But while I cherish and value these relationships immensely, I’ll also be the first to admit I take them for granted and oftentimes neglect this aspect of my life with the added excuse that I’m incredibly busy trying to balance work, school, and everyday life. But like I’ve preached in other posts, I have plenty of time for the things that are most important to me. It’s about what you do to prove your love and appreciation more so than it is about just saying you do. That is why this month I want to focus on nurturing the friendships that currently exist in my life; to more actively and purposefully appreciate their presence and the value they add to my very essence.
As I mentioned in my last post, each theme (January is friendship) will have actionable goals relative to my three intentions for the New Year. Below are the specific goals I’ve outlined for friendship and how they relate to each over-arching desire.
Find joy and fulfillment in creativity.
- Read a new book. This month I am choosing to read MWF Seeking BFF, My Year-Long Search for a New Best Friend. I chose this particular book mainly because I love memoirs and reading about people’s real-life experiences, but also because I can relate to how difficult is to make friends as an adult. Life after school is sometimes limiting in terms of the social avenues available at your disposal to meet and make new friends. Plus, it looks like a funny read and I could use a little humor in my life.
- Create an address book. When I sent out my holiday newsletter and greeting cards last month, I realized I haven’t kept track of anyone’s addresses over the years, which was a little disappointing. I’ve never been particularly fond of the notebook-style address books which is perhaps why I don’t currently own one so to cultivate the creative side of Lindsay, I plan on crafting one this month. I’m particularly fond of the Rolodex (old-school I know) so I might try to create that.
Give more love.
- Join the 21 day relationship challenge. I mentioned in my last post that I joined this project of Gretchen Rubin’s, which gives practical tips on how to nurture the relationships in your life and to more fully appreciate them. While I am anticipating the majority of tips will be geared towards romantic relationships, I want to try to put them to practical use in my friendships as well.
- Get back to the basics. I also mentioned in my last post that I decided to pen pal with my friend Tessa whom I met while living in Guatemala. I chose her specifically because we are at very different stages of our life, yet we’re both in our twenties. Since part of my intentions over the next year is to explore why your twenties matter so much, I’m interested to hear about her daily expats. I’m relishing in singlehood and she’s relishing in marriage and parenthood. We’re at very opposite extremes in the same stage of life so I’m really excited to hear her thoughts; it should be great fun!
- Create a friend-date jar. Liz and I both crafted date night jars as christmas presents this year but she countered with a genius idea. Who says all the fun dates are meant solely for romantic relationships? Creating this means each month we can plan to have quality friend time, whether it’s going on a hike or seeing a movie or going dancing.
- Host a potluck dinner/game night. One of my goals over the next year is to host a monthly potluck dinner/game night. I love these nights and as I get older, bars are less appealing because it’s harder to have intimate conversations when you can hardly hear the person sitting next to you. I’m hoping to have this sooner rather than later in the month.
Live a balanced life.
*Disclaimer: these goals focus on nurturing my mind, body, and spirit and may not directly relate to friendships, but as you’ll see I justify it in terms of adding value to my friendships just the same.
- Continue keeping a one-sentence journal. I started this in December and really want to continue the project. Since the theme for this month is friendships, I’m aiming to dedicate the majority of my entries to remembering the good that happens from interacting with friends or the accomplishments they achieve. When my friends are happy, I am happy and I want to remember those things too.
- Floss at least once a day. Each month, I want to practice adding one new healthy habit to my daily regimen. I can only justify flossing in terms of friendship for the fact that it will make my breath fresher and my friends less likely to tell me that my breath stinks (not that they do now) and hang out with me more (I am queen of justification!).
- Replace TV time with reading/writing time. My technology-free day has inspired me to re-examine how much time I spend engrossed in front of the TV when I get home from work. To nurture my mind, I plan to replace the time I spend watching TV from 9pm-10pm every night with reading/writing time. As my Mom let the cat out of the bag on Facebook, I will just go ahead and mention here that I am planning on writing a book. I am hoping to dedicate that hour of day to fine tuning my book idea.
Now that I’ve finished writing and re-reading, I realize how long this post is (thanks for sticking with me) and how many goals are on my plate for the month. But I think because they are all things I want to do as opposed to things I think I ought to do, I will be more likely to achieve them. Sure, there are a lot of things listed up there but I’m never one to do things half-ass. I’m really looking forward to the upcoming month!