"Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let the pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness. Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place."
-- Unknown
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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Weekly writing assignment from Mama Kat: Share one piece of great advice you’ve received from someone who knows stuff…

Wow – it seems like I’ve only been posting assignments lately… I guess I haven’t taken the time to do much else. Sorry about that. Maybe I’ll get back to regular updates eventually. In the meantime, enjoy (or skip?) my response to this week’s prompt.

Why is it that we rarely take advice from people who have obviously had more life experience than ourselves? Or is that just me?? I’ve always been a “learn as I go” kind of person – and while that has provided some interesting (though sometimes painful) memories, I could have spared myself many headaches (and a lot of heartache) if I had just listened to some of those golden tidbits that had been passed my way over the last 25 years.

One of the greatest pieces of wisdom ever shared with me came from my mother. Growing up, Mama told me (on numerous occasions) that “friends will come and go but family is forever.”

I never really paid much attention to it – naively believing that the people I called friends would always be my friends. While a select few have remained a part of my extended family, the vast majority of people I once considered friends have, indeed, come and gone (sometimes multiple times over the past several years).

I had to learn the hard way that some “friends” are actually mere party buddies – there for a good time, but suddenly unavailable in the face of a crisis. You can call them at 2 or 3 in the morning if it’s to invite them out or suggest a bar crawl, but not to have a meaningful conversation if something is truly bothering you.

And that’s fine as long as you understand the dynamic of your friendship and don’t start counting on them for anything more than a fun night out.

The last part of her statement has also proven to be so very true: family is forever, or at least mine is. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve screwed up over the years, or the number of screaming fights I’ve had with my parents. I’m sure I’ve embarrassed them, let them down, stressed them out and generally driven them crazy. But when it comes down to it, I’m always forgiven and loved all the same.

And I’m so thankful for that. It’s good to know that at any given time, no matter how late or inconvenient, I can call my parents (either set) and spill my heart to an open ear. It’s a wonderful feeling – knowing that no matter how bad things get, I have four people who are always, always on my side. Always proud of me. And always just a phone call away.

16 comments:

Trudy said...

Very wonderful advice and so true! I'm glad you have a great family that you can count on through thick and thin...I count myself equally blessed with my parents and my in-laws as well!

scarlethue said...

Very true! I wish it weren't-- there are old friends I wish had never gone and current friends I hope to never lose. But family is always there (whether we like it or not ;).

Rachel Cotterill said...

I was brought up with almost the opposite advice - that you choose your friends, whereas your family isn't optional. I love them all though :)

Missy said...

I have learned the hard way about friends!
My mother always said, "Those who sin with you, will eventually sin against you."
This was a great post!

P said...

I alwsys resent advice thinking "well have you been in my position and it's not the same thing anyway". But I would trust my family over anyone else. My sister is my best friend. We can say or do anything to one another and know it won't go further.

Savannah Reed said...

So true Heather!! I know that the advice that older people sometimes is great advice. I am so much like you thought that I have to learn things the hard way. Our parents are always going to be there for us no matter what..

Dan said...

Interesting because while some family is forever, I have also found that my good friends are forever too. In some sense that makes good friends rarer - they are there voluntarily, not due to some accident of genetics or social living arrangements.

In any case, value those, be they family or friend, who are there for you through thick and thin. And enjoy the fact that they are there.

Kim said...

Very good advice. Isn't it amazing how when parents tell you something like that, you roll your eyes.... and then, years later, it all comes together?

Erin said...

Family is forever and I have been blessed with not only a great family but friends that have become family!

What's the saying in that movie..."I go....WE go"!

Jenners said...

I think we don't listen to our "elders" when we are young because we truly believe we know better than them. I remember when I was in my 20s and full of grand ideas and the older ladies I worked with would smile and laugh at me ... and now I'm that older lady.

Your mom's advice is right on the money though. It is hard to believe you won't always have your friends but as we get older, it becomes clearer and clearer that at lifelong friend is a rarity. Most friends are "situational" -- good for the situation you are in at the time.

Great post. Obviously you gave me a lot to think about.

Andrea (ace1028) said...

Excellent words of wisdom from mom. I love how so many posters are quoting their moms today! (Yesterday!)

Anonymous said...

I'm glad to know that you were listening :)
love,
M

Anonymous said...

P.S. I'll always be there, come "hell or high water" as my Daddy use to say.

Karen, author of "My Funny Dad, Harry" said...

It sure is great to have a loving family! I was fortunate with one too.

Visiting from Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop--I used the advice prompt too: http://karenzemek.blogspot.com/2010/01/best-advice-i-ever-got-from-my-dad.html

Daniel Dragomirescu said...

Nice blog.
Grow up with Contemporary Horizon magazine! Thanks
Daniel D. Peaceman, editor
E-mail: drgdaniel@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

Heather,

I'll always, ALWAYS be there for you. Love, Mr. Negativity

P.S. Where's my money?!? :)