Friday, March 14, 2014

Knowing "my people"

I follow a few minimalism et al blogs, and a recent post by Kandice at The Simple Year really struck a cord with me. She wrote about relationship decluttering and knowing your people: How minimalism--and life--helps clarify who you want to spend your time with, sometimes because things change (or don't change) and sometimes because you were mistaken about who your people really are.

It was that last part that got me. I have made that mistake a time or two, trusting in a friendship / relationship that wasn't really real. Here's what Kandice wrote about that:
And then there are those who you thought were one of your people until the shit hits the fan and you look around and they have disappeared. And that sucks. Because it stings. You mourn the loss. You might feel duped and embarrassed. But, really, it’s a gift. With a giant red bow.
 It does sting! I do mourn the loss! I totally feel duped and embarrassed! And it IS a gift!

It's a gift because I know who my people are. Some people have always been my people: My parents, my grandparents, my Aunt Ann. Some people have been my people since we became friends as teenagers, like Mara and Shannon. Some people treated me as family the minute I started dating Eric, like my favorite in-laws and my sisters-in-law Debbie and Elaine. There are also a host of others who I count as my people because they are my friends and I enjoy being around them. Sometimes you just need someone to laugh with.

P.S. Eric isn't on that list because he's a list unto himself. He's mine, I'm his, the end. :)

Anyway, here's the thing: I have come to really appreciate my people, to not take these relationships for granted, to understand what an amazing gift it is when the people you love love you back.

You can't win them all. And that's okay. You can't demand that someone be your people--they are or they aren't; it's given freely or not at all. Sometimes you mistakenly believe someone is your people only to learn otherwise. Sucks. But who cares? The people I've been mistaken in--that's a much smaller list than the people I claim as mine. I really like this paragraph of Kandice's:
One of the results of my advanced years is that I no longer have a filter and my patience is limited. And you know what? My people still love me. And while this may sound callous, I’m no longer interested in investing time, energy, resources, whatever, to relationships that are one-sided. Knowing where to invest your very limited resources is a good thing.
It's interesting to me how it's generally looked upon as desirable to downsize and declutter your possessions, but not people. I felt like that at one time too, but now I'm thinking maybe it's healthy. It's not that I no longer care about the people who have discarded me... it's more that, knowing they do not care for me, I'm giving myself permission to turn instead to healthier relationships. It's a total bummer to work and work and work at a relationship that's one-sided. You can work forever and still be at Square One, or you can choose to spend that energy on someone who actually wants to be around you.

So here's to knowing my people. Here's to appreciating my people! Here's to lunch dates and emails and phone calls and care packages and even just exchanging pleasantries at work.

I love you people!

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