A friend of mine shared with me at our regular Friday lunch that she feels like she is not achieving anything. That she isn't keeping up at work, and feels like she really should have accomplished more. That she feels old, and tired. And I was so surprised. This lady has recently bought a very large house right on the water in one of the best areas in Sydney. The house has a pool, multiple-spot garage, and more than three rooms. She is very well respected at work. She draws admiring glances from men whenever we are together. She has a great husband and two well balanced, gorgeous children. And yet, she is not feeling good about herself or her life.
I could not contain my amazement, and shared that I had also been feeling 'flat'. I had just turned 39 the week prior, the cusp of middle-age (cringe), and had spent my first few days of my last year of the 'dirty thirties' lamenting my single mother-corporate worker-cleaning-washing-press&repeat-life and what appeared to be a waste of nearly 4 decades (yikes).
As I sat listening to my friend's heartfelt dismay at how cowed she felt by life and how much I could commiserate, I made a decision. I decided I was not going to criticise her, or coach her, or compare her lot to mine. None of that would be useful to either of us, and would keep us in the negativity we were both experiencing. I thought I would just support her. In fact, if I was being truthful, I, in fact also was really needing support myself.
For the remainder of the 35 minutes we had (she had forgotten she had to attend a lunch meeting); we created a plan for what we would set out to achieve in the coming week. As we developed our 'gameplan', it was like the clouds lifted and rolled away after a storm. She started sharing about accomplishments she had made that week that she had forgotten about, we had a little laugh at ourselves, and felt like we could pick ourselves up and 'have another crack'. It was a very valuable 15 minutes for us both, and I came away feeling that this use of time would support not just us but our respective families, our colleagues, our managers, our staff, but in fact every person that we would interact with from that point forward. A very different type of lunch to our usual idle chats.
So we now have a commitment to email each other with what we intend to work on toward our goals for the coming week, and catch up the following Friday, so we can accountable to one another for what we did or didn't accomplish. Support in action.
I'm now excited rather than dismayed. Maybe getting older includes getting wiser. The jury is out on that in my case. Either way, we're working on our journey together. I can only see our friendship getting stronger as we support each other on this game called life.
Who are you going to choose to support today? What about the most important person you know, yourself?