My original intention this week was to write about the difficulty of making friends in your 30s. I’ll save that topic for next time (because let’s face it, I’ll still be socially awkward in two weeks).
It’s been a rough couple of weeks for myself and my loved ones. Some of us have been flailing, some of us caretaking everyone around us, some of us desperately trying to keep it together, and all of us pushing through what seems like an impossible time. On more than one occasion I’ve been amazed by our resilience and capacity to not only endure, but bravely navigate through the dense fog in our lives.
I had a heavy conversation with one of my best friends yesterday about the strange direction our lives have taken in the past few years and our sincere appreciation for each other’s support. In high school she gave me equal doses of love and tough love whenever I thought my world was going to end (translation: getting dumped) and now we’ve had the beautiful and sad opportunity to sit with each other through identity altering grief.
Many of us mistakenly believe that growing up is solely measured by our ability (or inability) to be self-sufficient. We feel accomplished when we can set our bills to autopay without fear we’ll overdraw or when we can work through life’s curveballs on our own.
I believe, however, adulthood is additionally marked by our ability and willingness to accept and offer support for ourselves and those around us. Most of us struggle with one or the other (or none if you are a well-adjusted human being, unlike myself). For me personally, I try to always be the first person to offer support to my friends and family and yet am often the last person to accept it. I am that stubborn, sweaty idiot attempting to carry 15 bags of groceries up the stairs because I swear I can do it all by myself, I don’t need help, even though you just offered and one of the bags has split open and spilled out boxes of Eggo waffles out in front of you, I don’t need help.
In order to offer and accept support, we first need confidence in the space we hold in our relationships. We cannot give without knowing what we have and likewise cannot ask for help without knowing what we need. There’s much more room here than we first assume and as we settle into ourselves, we may be surprised by the capacity of our emotional expanse and its ability to house our struggle, our desire to love and help, and even our loneliness.
This week my playlist is a bit conflicted, much like me. It’s true, I’m still struggling with the desire to “go it alone” and save everyone. However, in quiet moments like these, I realize how much I appreciate the connectedness between people deliberately sharing their spaces together. At first glance, my choice in songs this week may seem disjointed. The crunch of Brittany Howard’s guitar seems to stand out above the quiet four-part harmony from Mumford & Sons. When this playlist is listened to in its entirety, however, these messages begin to form a cohesive story. We all want to be recognized as our own fully formed narrative. Not only do we desire to see these beautiful connections in the world, but we want to be part of it.
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Kristel is a sometimes angsty writer from Hawaii who now lives in Los Angeles, CA. She claims she’s a Marketing Director at a web design agency, but she spends most of her day in front of the computer while wearing pajamas.
Musical Temperance is her small attempt at creating the perfect soundtrack to help her survive an extended quarter-life crisis. Additional musings and playlists can be found at kristelyoneda.com.