Sunday, September 29, 2019

The Importance Of Friends

It has been a week of reconnecting with friends. On Tuesday I got together with a group of friends I used to work alongside in a writing workshop. We keep in touch on Facebook, and it's been six months or so since we all got together that someone mentioned we should get together over a beer and see what each other is up to.

We gathered at a local microbrewery and talked and laughed about our writing projects, failures and successes and where we were at with our works in progress. The answers ranged from people who had not written since we'd been together last, to those with books coming out or in progress. We respected those who'd gone different directions and praised those who'd stuck with it. Writing is hard work and you can't force it. It comes and goes.

The reason I appreciate this group of friends and love getting together with them is because we can all talk like a bunch of writing geeks and none of us tires of hearing about the others' struggles. We also know we won't be boring them like we might with someone who doesn't appreciate writing, or just doesn't care. We talk about plots, and endings, story arcs and writing block. On Tuesday, we picked up right where we left off 6 months ago. They are a group of friends I am glad to have because they think like me.

Then, yesterday I golfed in my one golf outing of the year, the Greater Krey Open, or GKO. It is a fundraiser for cancer setup by my good friend Steve and his family every year. He lost his brother Pete to cancer about 10 months before I lost my brother Rob to cancer. The tournament is played as a best ball "fun" outing with on the order of 60 golfers or so, I would estimate.

I golfed with the guys I usually golf with and as in past years it was an absolute riot. Our team finished a humiliating 4 over par, which is pretty bad for a scramble, but we didn't care. It was too much fun to be concerned with score. The four of us spend 18 holes laughing at each others' bad shots, cracking jokes about their feeble drives and trash talking about shots so deep in the woods they might have killed a deer.

And at the end of the day, we gather for dinner and beer, and a raffle of prizes. It is a great way to spend a fall day every year, one I've come to look forward to every year.

It occurred to me as the evening ended, how lucky I was to have good friends like these guys. Thinking back to Tuesday, I remembered how great it felt to connect with my writing colleagues.

In some ways I am a horrible friend. Especially when someone spontaneously asks me to do something that doesn't give me enough notice. I am an introvert by nature and need to work up my energy to a friend event. If I don't have a week or two's notice, I will usually decline someone's offer to do something spontaneously. It's a weird habit, but one I can at least acknowledge. I am grateful for those friends who stick it out and keep trying with me. It's not them, it's me.

But if I get enough notice and have planned for the event, I am ALL IN when I get there. I love being around friends for a couple of hours catching up and, most of all, laughing our heads off. I guess that makes me a good friend provided I have advance notice. Like I said, weird.

It is so important to have good friends. Old friends, new friends, casual friends and even virtual social media friends. I have fishing friends, church friends, coffee friends, work friends, friends of friends and friends I only see once a year. They all keep me laughing, they check up on me, ask how I'm doing and rejoice with in my successes. They are one of the most important keys to a happy life, at least in my opinion.

So, to all of my friends out there, Thank You for hanging out with me.

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