I have some new friends and some old friends. My “new” friends are people that I met during the Leukemia months. They include people like the nurse who came out and told me my blood counts 3 days a week. By the end of my treatments, we were legitimate friends. In the past 5 months, I spent time, significant time, visiting with the hospital staff, my nurses and techs, and the people in the Infusion Lab where I got blood transfusions. I loved getting to know them and their stories. My “old” friends are those who I knew and did life with pre-cancer. They are like family, really.
As I sat reading on my couch the other day, in the quiet of morning when everyone else was sleeping, I started feeling sad. It surprised me because for crying out loud, what do I have to be sad about? But after a bit of searching my heart, I realized; I was lonely. I am an extrovert, which means I like to have people around me. They give me energy. However, in order to have people around me, I have to arrange “play dates” for myself. That’s an introvert task. Scheduling and planning things, even if they are good things, gives me anxiety. Thinking ahead? Forget it. This is why I miss the hospital (call me crazy). Every morning, without me organizing a thing, there were responsible, productive, happy people scurrying around saying “good morning” and visiting me in my room. I loved that part (except when it starts at 4:ooam). I got my extrovert fix every day without effort.
Because I tend to procrastinate when it comes to setting up my “play dates”, I will often go MONTHS without seeing my “old” friends whom I dearly love spending time with. It also requires effort and for me to step outside what comes naturally to me. The past couple weeks, I spent several evenings with a long-time friend who moved across the country this morning. We were trying to savor every last moment and get all the laughing in we could before she moved away. It made me think about all the time we wasted prior to that, being too lazy or busy to arrange more of those evenings over the years. Why did we wait until the last-minute to invest more time and energy in our friendship? Why did we wait until she was moving to say all that we appreciated and valued about each other?
We have all got our own set of excuses. I just gave you all of mine. our circumstances are different, but our tendencies are still the same; wait until someone is moving, dying, or has a terminal disease before we spend the time, show the love, and speak the words that should have already been said a dozen times before. This is not a lecture. It’s a reminder. Life is short. Life can change or end abruptly. Even if you are an introvert, you need community because you were created for it. Make that phone call to mom or visit that friend or schedule a coffee with your cousin. As a wise friend of mine always says: “today’s the Day!”.