What kind of friend am I?

Am I a good person?

I’ve been wondering that a whole bunch lately. (You know, in between posts about how everything is falling apart, excessive birthday sentimentality, and the nonstop parade of theatrical endeavors. God bless you, nonstop parade of theatrical endeavors.)

And no, I’m not looking for a bolstering message of- Oh my GAWD, you are SUCH a good person. Because I mostly know. Not that I’m “good,” per se, but that I’m kind. I don’t kick people and I attempt to make eye contact even when I’m texting on my phone and I hand-make Valentines for people. That’s easy.

It’s also the bare minimum.

Speaking of those “everything is falling apart” posts, it’s also easy to do the bare minimum globally. Donate to hurricane relief. Email a congressperson. Drop off a pair of boots to a clothing drive. And then…go back to your day and gripe about paper towel rolls and carpool lanes and cats who shredded the arm of a chair. (For example.)

I fully acknowledge that there’s only so much I can do each day on an international level. But on a micro level, what kind of friend am I? Would my husband marry me again tomorrow if he had the choice? What character- er- choices are my kids picking up from me?

jasper batman

Sporadically, I’m a good friend. But the rest of the time? I’m meh. I hate talking on the phone- I hate it. If our relationship is to be judged on how often we hop on the phone and chat, we’re toast. I’m much better on text…but who really feels affirmed by an occasional 11pm Bitmoji? I get tired really early in each day and turn down a lot of invites that aren’t directly connected to a job. I’m not the first one to promote a pal’s new project, I have backlogs of wonderful things to read from friends, and I suck at small talk on the playground.

I’d hope my husband would choose me again, but alongside the “tired” comes the “anger.” And the “nitpicking.” And and and.

As for the third question, I’ve heard the passive huffs from my children and witnessed the overly emotional personification of every single treasured possession, so perhaps what’s done is done.

This long-winded stream of consciousness isn’t meant to be as pitiful as it sounds. I intend it to be a call to action. How many afternoons have I sat in traffic and pitied my various health and work and life complaints? (A lot.) And on those days where I wonder if anything GOOD is going to happen before it’s time to put on pajamas, I need to reframe my question:

What the heck have I done to make something GOOD for literally anyone else today? 

You know those things where, when they happen to you, you arrive home buzzing because- oh my goodness, the best thing just happened?!

This might be the most Pollyanna thing I’ve ever typed, but: I want to be the cause of something that causes someone else’s “best thing” to happen. 

At least sometimes.

At least more often than now.

Yesterday, I refrained from angrily leaning on the horn when someone cut me off in traffic. I was super-duper proud of myself and my “kindness” to the general public.

Then I got a little depressed as to the yardstick against which I had stacked my incredible behavior. (A metaphor for 2017 America, no?)

So back to the “Pollyanna” thoughts: When people have really affirming things happen, they parent (and wife and friend) better and love harder and have renewed energy to email congresspeople and organize committees and have- maybe- a little bit less fear and anxiety and hopelessness about it all. Which makes us all kinder and more aware and ready for anything (oh my God, anything) that will happen next.

Now, I’m not saying that a meal train will solve the health care crisis. Not at all. But maybe enough good deeds will keep communities strong and faith in others even stronger while modeling the kind of behavior we one hundred percent want our kids to have as defining traits.

And maybe we should all kiss our spouses way more.

Love, Keely

(Who always has coffee on hand and is terrific in a crisis, please be her buddy.) 



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