Browsing Tag

Jen Lawrence

— Life —

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When I was learning to administer the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator personality assessment, we did an exercise to see if we relied mostly on thinking or feeling. At the end of the exercise, all of the people who relied on their feelings were on one side of the room. On the other side of the room was a firefighter, a guy from the army, and me. The firefighter joked if we needed to bet on the last man standing in the thinking camp, his bet was on me. When making decisions, I always went with my head instead of my heart.

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— Relationships —

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Recently, The Royal Society Open Science published a study that shows the number of friends we have peaks at age 25 and then starts to decline until it levels out around age 45.

I’m glad to learn I’m not alone in this.

When I was younger, I was happy to pal around with people who shared my interests. I like dogs! I like that author! I love Radiohead too! As I’ve aged and my time has become more scarce, I’ve become much more discerning when it comes to choosing those with whom I spend my days.

Now, I am much more interested in people’s stories, values, and the size of their hearts, than their tastes in bands or food. I’ve forged some friendships based on shared interests, but only because those interests provided a window to their souls. For example, there is a small group of us who are connected through our mutual love of French antiques, grand hotels, and circa 2006 J. Crew. While we were drawn together at first by surface commonalities, we quickly discovered that we are all old souls who crave a return to elegance. We realized that many of us deliberately surround ourselves with beauty to offset some of the hardships we’ve survived, and that–more than our interests–is the basis for our friendship.

As I’ve aged, I realize that I like my own company, have a busy family life, and would much rather read a good book than spend time with people who drain my energy. I no longer have time for fair-weather friends, drama queens, or grief-glommers.

I see friends as the people with whom I choose to share my life. A smaller circle allows me to invest time and emotional energy in cultivating deeper friendships with the people I love.

I’m forever meeting interesting people and, with potential new friends, I take a catch and release approach. I’m quick to suggest coffee and then see where things flow from there. My litmus test for friendship is to ask myself if a potential friend makes me feel better or worse. Friends should make you feel safe and secure and loved. I no longer spend time on people who won’t support me in the bad times and cheer me on in the good. Life is too short.

These days, particularly with social media, there is pressure to have a posse; to have a wide group of people who will like what you do. But an entourage won’t necessarily catch you when you fall. Football manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, has this marvelous quote: “At the end of the day, you only need six people to carry your coffin.” Food for thought, that.

It’s not the number of friendships we have, but the nature of those friendships that matters. I’ll happily sacrifice likes on Instagram for a few kindred spirits who really have my back.

 

 

— Life —

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I heard someone talking about the upcoming Olympics and realized I was in London, as a spectator, less than four years ago. The timing seems impossible as it was right after the last Olympics that I experienced a deep personal setback that hit me emotionally, financially, and spiritually, and surely it takes more than four years to rebuild from something like that. Then again, had I put the same time and effort spent rebuilding my life and my children’s lives into perfecting my athletic skills, I might be off to Rio with a decent shot at gold.

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— Relationships —

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For the last several years, I’ve lived in a house with my son, my daughter and a small French bulldog. Girls outnumbered boys 3:1. In re-partnering, I’ve added four guys and two male pets to the household. Boys outnumber girls 7:3.

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— Life —

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When I worked in banking, there used to be an area called Special Loans that dealt with companies that had breached the terms of their loan agreements. The men (and they were all men in those days) who worked there were a cross between your meanest high school math teacher and Clint Eastwood’s character in Gran Torino.

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— Life —

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Our dog has recently started working as a therapy dog. Her primary clients are a group of seniors, many of whom struggle with Alzheimers. One woman we visit has a girlishness to her that belies her age. She has a certain elegance and sits with perfect posture in spite of the fact she is sitting on a somewhat saggy sofa, watching an aged French bulldog be passed from lap to lap. You can tell she was once considered very beautiful and might have led a somewhat charmed life before her memories disappeared.

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— Life —

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I see this quote from time to time on social media:

You can’t go back and make a new start, but you can start right now, and make a brand new ending.

The quote is attributed to everyone from Zig Ziglar to the Philadelphia Eagles, but according to Quote Investigator, it is originally from a book by James R. Sherman titled Rejection: How to Survive Rejection and Promote Acceptance. (How ironic to have your authorship of a quote about rejection rejected by the internet!)

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— Life —

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On Mondays, I always attend a 9:15 am step class at my gym. I always set up my step in the same spot near the back of the room at the side. Last week, however, I arrived later than usual, and the only free space was at the very front of the room.

The thought of doing the class front and center really freaked me out. I was not born with the choreography gene that allows one to learn dance steps quickly.

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— Life —

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Well, this has been one holy heck of a week. Smack dab in the middle of my attempts to put the house back together after moving again, my daughter had dental surgery. They had trouble with her IV and, after several attempts to find a vein, the Bermuda triangle of my naturally low blood pressure, hypoglycemia, and squeamishness kicked in and I hit the floor. I woke up to find myself surrounded by strangers, with an oxygen mask strapped over my face. Thankfully, my daughter and I were both fine in the end.

There was a time when something like this would send me spinning. Now, we’ve been through so much as a family that we know how to keep afloat when the waves crash down.

Part of the reason we are more resilient is that we have put together coping strategies, like these, in advance.

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— Life —

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One of my favorite memes is a picture from José Rodolfo Loaiza Ontiveros’s Profanity Pop series that shows several Disney princesses, sitting around a table looking depressed and drunk. In their midst sits painter Frida Kahlo. The caption reads, “That moment when they all realized Disney had been spoon feeding them the toxic love template since they were babies, and they called Frida Kahlo to come fix this %#&.” The truth is, as women, we’ve long been fed the princess narrative that when the going gets tough, some man will come along to save us. Continue Reading