On Thursday a friend rang me up. Two weeks ago I sent her an SMS on her birthday and suggested that she and her husband come visit the German and I in our big ‘ol house. She admitted to me on the phone that her birthday had not been that great and that it would have been nice to have a few more friends around. I understood exactly what she meant.
I have many friends; people that you meet for a beer and a chat every few months. We often laugh and say, “Why don’t we do this more often?” But we never do. And as a result they are not the kind of friends you feel close to. And often you feel like there is no one to call when you are feeling really down.
My friend and I tried to arrange a meeting time. I said that this past week was not good for me. On Saturday I had plans with the neighbors and Sunday I wanted to work. Next weekend is not good for her because she has visitors coming in from abroad. Before I knew it we were talking about making plans in June. It was all a little ridiculous in light of what she had said to me earlier.
Claire: “Wait. Why don’t you just come this Sunday for coffee?”
Friend: “Yes, but I don’t want to take you from your work.”
It dawned on me how often I push people away in the name of “work.” And I finally realized that I do not want to do that anymore. Life is a balancing act between work and fun. Lately my life has only been work. I have been falling off the balance beam for months.
Claire: “You know what; I think my lessons will be just fine. Come over.”
So this past weekend I decided to work on the fun part of my life. On Saturday the German and I went on a “Spargel Tour” with the new neighbors. The Spargel (a.k.a. asparagus) harvest is a highlight of the German spring. In the month of April the only thing to eat is asparagus with ham, boiled potatoes and hollandaise sauce.
The German and I met 10 other couples from our new neighborhood. We biked 30 kilometers around Wildeshausen. It was absolutely gorgeous. Everyone was very friendly. We stopped outside a little village called “Small America.” They put the stop on the tour because of their new American neighbor. After about 4 and half hours we arrived back in Wildeshausen and ate asparagus and drank and laughed. We finally landed home and in bed around midnight.
My friend and her husband just left. They came over for a few hours. I baked a cake from a new recipe. We chatted and went for a small walk. It was really, really nice.
I realize that it is going to take a lot of effort to get back into balance. But you have to start sometime. Otherwise I will just keep falling off the beam.