There are just some moments in life where showing up is a make or break decision. If there is anything I am learning as I progress through this journey of life, it’s that we cannot go it alone. And in order to not be alone, we must not only make connections but also sustain them. Yes, that means putting in the work, which requires effort, occasional inconveniences and even money. But in the end, what else could be a more valuable investment?
Last weekend, one of my best friends celebrated her 30th birthday and baby shower (1st baby) in New York. Although many of us who attended do not live in NYC, or even in the U.S. in my case, I could not have imagined missing such an important event in my friend’s life. I do not cite this example to sound arrogant or because I expect praise for going, but rather because I was genuinely surprised at the significance of that decision. While I jumped at the chance to reconnect with her and other long-time friends, and I was fortunate enough to have the means and time to make the trip, I also did not expect such and emotional outpouring in appreciation of the effort (and it was not just because she is pregnant!). It struck me that these are the decisions that matter and accumulate to determine the course of relationships.
True to this sentiment, it is not a coincidence that my mom repeatedly mentions a particular event (it was the wedding of this same friend almost 5 years ago) to which my father did not to show up, and how pivotal it was for her in coming to a decision to separate. Of course it was not about whether my dad missed one wedding, but it was the accumulation of those decisions and the incredible impact they made until ultimately the relationship they once shared as husband and wife was no longer sustainable. Fortunately their relationship continues as a friendship and I harbor no judgment since it was not my marriage to uphold, but the moral of the story is that more often than not, we have to be there when it counts. Interestingly, I was dating someone at the time of this wedding that managed to fly halfway across the world after leaving his own brother’s wedding at 2am, to arrive in Texas just in time to accompany me and meet all of my friends. Clearly this was important to me, but I am just now realizing and appreciating the significance of the gesture where I was too immature to acknowledge it sooner.
I will not pretend that my trip to New York did not involve indulging in some hair styling and shopping; however it was underscored by this amazing reconnection with true friends around a supremely important time in life. It goes without saying that the onus is on each of us as individuals to communicate what really counts (not everything can be a make or break event), but I believe that generally if we open our eyes and ears it is fairly apparent. Our relationships can only remain relevant if we participate in each other’s lives. Besides, we would not have any reason to wear all our fun material things and debut those hair styles if we weren’t going out to enjoy those special moments with the people for whom we care the most.