Month.

A month is a long time for some and a short time to others. Plenty can happen in a month, you could train and run a marathon in a month, you could write a book, improve your health, take a trip to a few new places, or focus on something with all of your focus. That is what I did last month, I spent some time focused on improving my mental health, I was in a rut and it was a challenge to get out of. I felt awful and uninspired, I felt weak in everything I did and withdrew myself from some of my greatest friendships.

It’s hard to struggle and not always understand why. It is a puzzle to me why I withdrew from my friends and felt the desire to keep to myself. I never know when this is going to happen either, the world suddenly feels heavy and I feel like Atlas holding the weight of the world on my shoulders. Is this something I want? No, but its something I must work through when it happens and move forward from those moments of deep doubt and weight.

Last month after mothers day I took a break from writing every day and decided to look inward and reflect to see how I was feeling, how I could find personal clarity, and how I could be in a better mental state. It was not easy to look inward as I did, writing down lists of negative self-thoughts and a few positive ones. It made me extremely sad to see how poorly I looked at myself when I know that I have heaps more to offer than I thought I did during those moments. I knew that I wasn’t feeling up to par with being my happier self, but that I could work my way through and out of the rut I had found myself in.

If you or anyone you know seems a little off from their usual self don’t be afraid to ask them how they are doing, see if they need an ear to vent to, or just need someone to sit with them in silence until they are ready to talk. Try and be there for them and make sure they know that you are willing to be there when they need. This seems like common sense friendship but it isn’t. It’s something that shows you are a friend with a deeper understanding of the feelings and needs of others.

To my friends who stood beside me through these challenging times, I say thank you. Thank you for listening when I needed, sending memes out of the blue that raised a smile on my face, and laughing with me when I needed a good laugh. Friendship is a beautiful thing isn’t it?

Reconnect.

Spending time to catch up with old friends is a great experience to have. Especially if you and your friends want to spend time together but are often derailed from time together due to schedule differences. Reconnecting with friends is best done however you prefer spending time together playing games, eating dinner, or doing activities out on the town. Life is a series of moments that come at us fast. Spending time with friends is a good way to spend a few of those moments.

Tonight a group of my friends got together and we all reconnected after an extended time  of not seeing each other. It was an excellent time overall reconnecting hearing stories of other peoples lives and the new changes that have happened to each other through the months and years. We laughed and rekindled our friendship while enjoying a meal and a few hours of pop culture conversations. As we started to leave we all parted with happiness in our hearts and smiles on our faces not knowing when the next time we would all be together again.

Reconnecting with people from our past often can bring up warm memories of the years past. Often those memories connect with memories, these can be good and warm, memories of embarrassment, or bad memories we’d like to forget. Often we can forget the moments until we are back with the people we were with when those moments happened. Don’t be embarrassed or surprised if those memories rekindle feelings you’d thought you had long forgotten. Just take a few moments and remind yourself of the here and now and where you currently are.

When you can reconnect with a friend or two from the past who was a good influence on you, check in and see how they are, and how life is going for them. Try to do your best to be a listener interested in your friend’s life. It will be a refreshing experience you’ll be grateful to have.

Know.

I’ve been told many times that life is all about who you know more than what you know. Being able to use your connections to accomplish different tasks is key to finding success in much of life’s challenges. Think about all the people you know, they like you have different skills and interests that they utilize on a daily basis without much thought. Now think about yourself and inventory your assets or skills, you personally are probably skilled in 5 – 10 things well and those things might not always be the skills needed to accomplish the task.

Tonight truly reminded me why it’s so valuable to know and be friends with people with different skills than you. I have been building an e-commerce side hustle and I finally felt comfortable ordering some bulk product and seeing what I could do to move a larger volume of products. I needed some pictures taken that would encourage people to purchase these items and my iPhone photography skills wouldn’t do the job. I messaged one of my good friends and we set up a time to take quality photos to best move the product.

When I arrived I figured that we’d use my friend’s camera and just take some quality high-resolution pictures. He had lights’, a white backdrop, and the digital editing equipment and skills to make the pictures better than I had expected. I am truly grateful to know people who have skills that they can share to make my ambitions a reality without much work to them.

We can all think of times when our friend’s skill sets have helped us out when we needed a hand. We can also probably think of the times when we have done the same for others, showed up and helped out when needed with ease. We need to remember to integrate that into our natural motion every day, offering to lend a hand where we can and lift the world to a better place.

It’s all about who you know right?

Miles.

Today I took some friends from the Philippines on a small road trip to central Utah and back. It was their first time seeing rural Utah outside of the Utah and Salt Lake counties. They loved the views that my state shared with them and were amazed at how I lived in such a beautiful place. While we drove those many miles south then back north we spent time talking about this and that keeping our friendship current and lively.

Driving to me is an opportunity to see the world from the relaxation of a chair and a destination in mind. You can travel at a high enough speed that you feel you’re flying  but have a better viewpoint of what’s around you than if you are thousands of feet above the ground in an airplane. Road Trips are ideal times just to share a conversation that like a road has various twists and turns yet keeps the day moving forward to a destination.

There are many reasons to just jump in a car with friends and set off to see the world and the reason behind it is simple: Spending time in a car together brings people together if you’re open to it. Being willing to spend the miles enclosed in that small space listening to each others music, stories, and opinions can really grow friendships stronger. We need more of these times together with those we know and care for.

It doesn’t always have to be a trip to a tourist destination where you can choose to spend time. You could take a friend to see their family, a family member to see the doctor, or just head out for lunch together and see where the day takes you. The key to these miles and minutes spent together is simply the act of investing your time for friendship.

Missed.

I missed last typing my three hundred words last night, oops. I wish that I had some good reason to have missed writing something up last night but I really don’t. I made the choice to spend the night with my brother who was visiting instead of writing something up. I actually take back what I wrote a few lines before this. I have the greatest reason to have missed last nights writing time.

My youngest brother came up and spent a day and a half visiting my wife and I. He joined me in visiting a local Krishna Temple and checking in on a llama I used to use as a marketing prop at work. He also chauffered me around to get a little extra driving time as he will soon be taking his driving test, it’s safe to say the sidewalks are safe as he is a great driver! We then went and visited a jump house and bounced around an obstacle course, jumped on Olympic trampolines, and attempted to look graceful while dunking on some tall hoops. It was a blast.

Why do I recap with you what we ended up doing? Because time with my brothers is my favorite past time. I love spending time with them and seeing all they have become as they’ve grown older. I can’t always say that I was a good brother to them, but I’ve worked to become better than I used to be and I feel that our friendships are stronger than ever. We’ve been able to share better experiences as we’ve all grown up a bit more and worked together to keep our relationships strong by just spending time together as we can.

What I’m really getting at is that you may not have been the best sibling to your brothers and sisters in the past but there isn’t a better day than today to try to be a better sibling. Whether it’s a simple text, snap, or letter sent just try and start a conversation that matters and that will rekindle a friendship with a family member. Is it easy to do? Not always, but it’s effort than can pay off if you are willing to do your part.  

Pronounce.

I think more people than me have experienced a moment when you are talking with someone and they get a confused look on their face then question/comment on the way that you pronounce a word. I happen to know that there are times when I poorly pronounce a few words from time to time. It’s always a funny experience for people when I say a few of these words and they aren’t certain if I am joking or if that is really how I speak.

One of the funniest words that I mispronounce is usually Popeyes. Yes, I’m talking about the chicken joint. I have surprised dozens of friends when I mispronounce Popeyes for Pope- eyes and for some reason, I am constantly relearning how to correctly pronounce the word then shortly falling back to my incorrect pronunciation of the word. There are times when I am genuinely embarrassed that I fall back to a poorly pronounced word and there are other times that I just don’t care and hope that my friends can forgive me for my poor words.

I think that is a slight metaphor for life at times. We each have weaknesses that we know are there and try to change or adjust to a better practice or way of doing things. There are times when we stand strong and hold to said new idea or habit and there are other times that we attempt the change then fail a few times and decide that reverting back to our previous behavior. There are times when we understand that we are as we are and will be just fine staying as we are. Others often may see our shortcomings yet decide to pursue our friendship and accept us as we are.

Life is a challenge at times, we can mispronounce words or have a few shortcomings but people will work with us if they are true friends and are willing to work with our differences. As we would hopefully do for them as we get to better know them.

Time.

Daily we decide where to invest our time. Perhaps you spend many hours at work, a few hours at the gym, a bit with friends, working on hobbies, or some time alone. Each of us has a day that is broken up between twenty-four hours, between the hours of sunshine and darkness. We choose where to put ourselves during these hours and who we will invest our time with and the activities we pursue.

Many of us are required to work to cover our day to day expenses or the cost of living. The hours we spend at work are what we choose to make of them, you might have a job that some look down at but it might be the right fit for you. Each of us can be happy at what we do each day, even if it isn’t our life passion we can still show up with a good attitude and a willingness to accomplish our tasks. This makes our hours spent working less of a drag on our personal lives, and us less of a negative well for others to feed off in their own struggles with life. Recognize that a good attitude will bring about better opportunities and better days.

Time spent with other people can make or break our days. We have routines that are built around the lives of others, we might look forward to seeing someone at work, after work, when we get home, or tomorrow at 11 am sharp for brunch. These plans with others can increase our overall life satisfaction and help us to find a better way of living. Lives are better when we have others to support and those who can support us. Friendships allow for happiness, sadness, misunderstandings, and collaborations. Life with others can test us, break us, and build us into better folk who can be better friends when the occasion arises.

Wherever you should decide to spend your time do so wisely. Invest in real opportunities building better experiences for yourself and others. Find yourself being the best friend you can be to others but most of all be a friend to yourself.