Sunday, March 14, 2010

Loss

I spent some time with a good friend yesterday, but even this didn't help. I think it made things worse. Despite being 10:30 am on a sunny Saturday, I was having a rough day, so many emotions so early in the day. My friend invited me to lunch. I'd have enough time to shower and get Rowdy situated, and the thought of a free meal and great conversation made me smile.

I wanted to get an outside perspective, so I opened up to my friend over my chicken sandwich. See, I thought I was doing well, and I thought those closest to me agreed. I was hoping for a little reassurance and gentle guidance, but when I asked this friend what he thought about me and my life, he responded with, "I think you can do a lot better but you choose not to do anything with your life." I felt like a ton of bricks were just thrown at me.

I couldn't be mad, I asked his opinion afterall. But I thought he would say "you've come a long way" or "I can tell your happier". But he didn't. Not doing anything with my life. I'm going to counseling at least twice a month, I'm running to keep my mind and body healthy and to achieve a life long goal, and most importantly, I've rededicated myself to God and to living my life as He intended for me. Not doing anything with my life.

So exactly what does he think I need to be doing with my life? "You need stability. A job at a big company where you're given tasks, and you're job is to complete those tasks. You already have your degree, so get a job where you use your degree that you have." He doesn't think I should even consider real estate as a career, let alone any job that is 100% commission-based. I tell him he has no idea things I have been through and how I am focusing on healing and starting a new life for myself. He said there's no such thing - that I have 27 years of experiences that made me who I am and I can't change that. "In real estate, you are you're own boss. You have no one to answer to. You're going to do alright for a little while, but just as you've always done, things are gonna happen, you're gonna get depressed or upset and you're not gonna get any work done for a day or two. And you can't do that in a job that pays you commission only."

My heart felt like a knot that had traveled into my throat. I tried to explain to him about what I'm doing, paving a new way or myself, a new way that I handle my struggles. I'm strengthening myself. A 9-to-5 job will provide stability, sure, but it's not the answer to my problems, and I'm content right now with what I am doing. No it's not full time, and yes I am looking at a couple of side jobs to help with money, and I'm not committing myself to real estate for the next 30 years, but I am considering it as a good option for right now. My words didn't sway him. Not doing anything with my life.

Hurtful, hurtful words. "I didn't grow up like you did and neither did any of my friends, so it's hard to have sympathy for your situation." "Not even empathy?" I asked. "No."

I emailed my counselor and pushed up my appointment from next Monday to tomorrow. Our conversation raised so many questions, and my mind has been on overdrive ever since. The same questions I've been asking myself for as long as I can remember and wondering if it's healthy to keep this person in my life. I can't lose another friend. So many have come and gone in my life, but maybe this one leaving is for the best. It's not that I'm angry at his response, it's that he doesn't see me for me. And no empathy? Not even for someone you call your friend?

When it comes to jobs and money, I am thinking on a short-term timeline. But when it comes to people I choose to be in my life, I am thinking long-term. The people I keep close to me are people I want in my life forever, who are a healthy addition to my life and who will make me better. And maybe this person I've thought of as a friend for so long just isn't one of those people.

(Update: Instead of ending a valuable friendship, I changed my perspective.)

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