Why is change so difficult? Even if it’s something we want it can throw your life into chaos. If it’s something we don’t want, well then there’s a mountain of negative frenzy to plow through.
I don’t like change. Negative or positive. But I also know that deciding not to change may be the worst decision to make. In a way, change is easier when it’s forced on you. Deciding to leap is tough.
With all these ideas floating around my head, I resigned my position as Fundraising Coordinator at the Surrey International Writers’ Conference.
Yes, shocking news if you recently read my last blog about SiWC. (read it here)
I’m well known for telling people that it’s all about intent. If you ever have a question about what to do, just remember your original intent and the answer will be clear.
My intent all along has been to get a book written and published. It’s that intent that led me to my first Surrey Writers’ Conference. It’s been a long journey and I feel that time is running out. I need to get this done.
Heading into 2018 was my kick in the butt.
And let’s face it; I’m not the fundraising sort of person. The position was a great way to procrastinate and not write my book.
So I stepped aside.
As much as I hate change it can make me nostalgic. It made me remember all the people I’ve met at SiWC… some of the highest points were not the most public moments.
-That first year, a writer named Ace Baker gave me the courage to sit down with Jack Whyte so he could critique my stories.
-Chats with Anne Perry are always a lesson in living well and getting on with the work.
-Paula, Joe, Helga, Karalee and Silk…. 5 writers on the same journey. We always talk about it in the bar.
-Terry Fallis gave me more inspiration than I thought was possible and it still resonates today.
-One year, Maryam Tajilrou, one of the staff at The Sheraton Guildford, saved my whole conference by stepping up with an act of kindness.
-Sean Cranbury and Jane Porter and DinoPorn
-Thanks to kc dyer for pointing out that I’m a personal trainer and that’s where my story lives.
-Regan Ross showed me what real courage is.
-Jasper Fforde is a very kind man and gave me faith in my words.
-Tyner Gillies has your back during any emergency.
-And most important of all…being friends with Jen Browne is a blessing and privilege.
Yes, there have been lots of other moments… the joy of being around SiWC and attending the conference is that it could change your life.
It changed mine.
Sometimes change is good.
This past week I read a Facebook post by someone I used to consider a dear friend. We don’t see each other anymore. He’s moved on.
I find that often happens when a friend starts to date someone or even more dramatically, when they move in or get married to the love of their life.
It can be a little melancholy.
It got me thinking about what makes friendships last. And even more basic, why do we become friends with someone in the first place? What glue keeps us together? What tears us apart?
We humans are funny.
This week I also talked to a friend about the importance of speaking up and telling your truth. We talked about how that’s important in building relationships; real relationships and not just casual acquaintances.
It all leads to thinking that a good friend would listen to what you have to say and believe you. In a world where we need people to “have our back” I think it should start with a simple trust.
I’m blabbering a bit here… but stay with me.
We need our friends. Real friends. People that know us and love us. The people that you can call at 3am and they will come running. No questions asked.
These are best friends.
Yes, some friends will be around for a while and then slip away. I think that’s natural. It says something about what the relationship was built on and the fact that we are all changing all of the time. Life changes us in ways we could never expect.
I’ve been lucky to have a few really great friends. I understand how rare and precious they are. I would not be here if they weren’t in my life. You would be surprised to know who they are.
I’m also lucky to have many of the other kinds of friends and blessed to be surrounded by some outstanding people. If for some reason we part I will know my life is better for the time we shared.
My Buddhist teacher, Lama Tara, gave the best antidote to heal the pain when I lost that cherished friend that moved on. She explained that I had stopped the story in the wrong place. Instead of continuing the narrative to the sorrow of not spending time together, in my mind, I should end that chapter of our friendship when our time together was filled with laughter and comradery. Stop the story there. It will allow you to move forward and look back with affection and gratitude.
It’s a good plan and has served me well.
Lama Tara also reminds me that nothing lasts forever.
But just maybe a best friend makes you believe they will be around for a very long time.
It’s all about the people you’ll meet. That’s the power of the Surrey International Writers’ Conference.
I’ve been attending the event since 2011 and this still holds true.
Yes, in the end it will all be on my shoulders. As much as I don’t like this fact, it’s the truth. If I don’t write the book and put it out into the world then nothing will happen.
All the wishing and hoping and yes, even praying, are for naught unless you step up.
You must write it. You must finish it. You must pitch it to get a book published.
SiWC gives you that chance and can make the journey much easier… or at least make it feel possible.
I’ve learned more about my craft and even more about myself at the conference. I’ve begun to appreciate what I know and what I still need to learn. The process can feel relentless.
The weekend can feel magical.
Again this year, I got to have dinner with Anne Perry. We both tend to arrive at the hotel at the same time and sharing a meal and a good chat is a great way to start the weekend. I cherish her words and perspective.
The reason I had a new book to pitch this year is because I volunteered as the conference’s Sponsorship Coordinator. During one of my meetings with SiWC Board Member, kc dyer, she suggested I write something from a fitness professional perspective. That conversation led to an idea that has morphed into a book.
The next step was talking to Donald Maass. Only at a place like SiWC would you have the chance to pitch to someone of his caliber. (Or in my case, the opportunity to request an impromptu meeting.) His encouragement has given me the motivation to keep moving forward with this book. Priceless.
There were so many other moments that cemented my love of SiWC.
One fact still remains the same and the reason I will always return to Surrey each and every year.
Some people I’ve met there have become the best of friends.
And that is almost better than writing a bestseller.
If you’ve ever received a birthday wish from me I bet I added in the line “Today you should celebrate yourself!”
I believe most of us adults are prone to play down how we should act on the day.
Tomorrow is my birthday and I will heed my own advice.
Why not celebrate turning 59? Why not celebrate me?
Why not, indeed?
OK, I can see why my friends smirk when I write it in their birthday cards. It’s tough to celebrate yourself.
But I’ll give it a try.
This past year has had some drastic ups and downs. And to be honest, most of the “ups” were just that I survived the big “downs”.
The joy of being an optimistic person is that my glass is always more than half full so I tend to have a good cry when things go bad, then carry on. And when I say carry on, I don’t mean put on a stoic face and just move forward. I mean get up off the ground, search out where happiness is and claim it.
So with that in mind, I’ve been thinking about what I loved most about the past year.
There is no question that my time with the kids rates as number one!
And the last couple of hours have been the best reminder of what makes me truly happy. I’ve tried to write this blog and been constantly waylaid by texting with my best girlfriend. She’s away right now but we keep chatting. Time with her makes everything better and I’m blessed to have her in my life! Then another friend called and 30 minutes slipped away. He makes me laugh. Back to writing and my brother phones me! Of course I have time to talk… you’re my brother! And even now the birthday messages are starting to come in. Hell, I think I’ll cheat and open up the cards I’ve gotten! Why wait until tomorrow?
Then it dawns on me. Someone once told me this weird saying.
Tomorrow I am going to celebrate the person I think my true friends think I am.
And that’s going to make for a very good day.
Do you have one of those special friends?
No matter how long you’ve been apart, once you reconnect the rapport takes minutes to revive. Year’s slip away. Conversations continue without hesitation. There’s an agreement we don’t need to explain.
The phenomenon is close to magic and maybe even a little bit spooky. In my world it’s a belief in past lives and karmic connections. Others might think there’s just an underlying bond.
However you define it, if you experience this, don’t take it for granted.
Cherish each time it happens.
That’s how I felt when I saw Pete last week. Even though it had been 6 years since our last coffee chat, we fell into our relaxed patter. A comfortable ease.
OK, it’s a little freaky how alike we are. I won’t list the attributes, but trust me; it’s weird in a very cool way. I will admit Pete is probably the better writer, and for sure the better coach if you want help to run a marathon.
Over the last few days I’ve asked people if they have this type of friend. The answer’s usually yes. And when they start to talk about it I swear their whole being changes. Their voice softens, a smile appears and then I hear the stories.
It’s tougher when you’re the opposite sex. People’s assumptions of “dating” are boring and a waste of time. That path is well tread and there’s no need to retrace the steps.
Could it be that I’m now old enough to appreciate the joy of a really good friend? Or maybe I’m just tired of the crap that can fill a day. I’ve been edging towards a purge of relationships that don’t bring happiness.
Being around Pete reminds me this is a wise pursuit.
These days I often repeat the mantra “Life is good.”
Pete is always quick to add “Life is short.”