As my brother is on a travelling baseball team, my parents are often gone during the summer, sometimes both at the same time, sometimes one at a time. Such was the situation this weekend. Derek (lovingly referred to as "Deek") was playing in Topeka, KS and Mom decided to stay home. Because I love my family and I love being able to talk with them (when they're in talkative moods), I ventured over to the homeland to talk with Mom for the late morning-early afternoon hours.
This conversation had some usual parts:
"Hey, how was work....." "How are you doing....." "How is Deek's baseball going....."
but, after all of the small talk and idle chatter, we can generally glean a good hour of solid conversation, which I always find myself learning from.
Two Points Made By Mom (this trip):
1) The key is balance.
2) Some people like to have shallow and basic relationships with a lot of people and not spend the time to develop deep, lasting relationships with a few people. Other people prefer just the opposite and would rather have a few very close friends and not know many people.
This point almost came out of the blue, but it was a good one and a concept that I've taken to heart. No matter what aspect of life, it must be kept in a balance. Working time must be balance out with sleeping time, and anyone who makes you feel lazy for needing your time to recoup via sleeping needs to bugger off. I'm guilty of giving folks a hard time for "sleeping too much". I, personally, can run just fine off of 6-7 hours of sleep. Others need more like 8-9. So, folks that I have teased so mercilessly, I apologize.
Time spent relaxing (physically and mentally) should be paired evenly with time spent creating and doing.
But, perhaps the most important fact of this balance (between all of life's aspects) is that the balance is different for everyone. For me to feel balanced, I need about 60% of my time alone and 40% of my time with people (not counting as sleeping hours and no, Koda doesn't count as "people"). I also need about 1/3 of my car riding time to be spent in silence (I really don't care to listen to the music on the radio much, it's either NPR or MPR or nothing). The silence allows me to collaborate my quiet time and alone time into my driving time...multi-tasking?
(The topic of multitasking is also and interesting one that I'll touch on later).
But there are some things that I think we spend the majority of our lives trying to figure out how to balance. How much food do we actually need to feel satiated and happy but not overly full? How much money do we need in our savings to feel secure, but not pompously wealthy? How much affection do we expect out of a relationship to feel loved and cared for, but not smothered?
And how often do these balances change as we grow and mature (or, perhaps, im-mature?)
I'll confess. This topic came up while discussing Nathan and my Dad. You might call them the "men in our lives", although mine has taken a noticeable absence as of late. Either way, both of these individuals sincerely love to talk to anybody and everybody. When going somewhere with my Dad, it was always guaranteed that you should budget an extra half hour of time, because you would inevitably run into someone that he knew and wanted to chit-chat with.
My Dad loves to chat. Nathan loves to chat.
My Mom and I are quite different. I can go for a long while without seeing a bunch of people or talking to a bunch of people and feel quite alright with it. However, if the opportunity presents itself and I am with a few close friends (or even just good friends that can make me laugh!), I will spend hours talking with them. I love getting to know people deeply and personally, and, in my opinion, the people that are almost always worth knowing deeply/personally are not going to share all their secrets within just a few days of knowing you. They might give you their blanket story, but truly learning what makes them tick will take much longer and will require effort on both parts.
Is one mode of communication and befriending better than the other? I wouldn't care to say yes or no to that. I think these ways are just different, and to be honest, it's another act of balancing. After all, what is the point of having 1,000,000,000 friends, if no one knows you well enough to (as my Mom said) "wipe your butt if you need it?". Similarly, it can get awfully lonely just having 5 friends to talk with.
Balance. It's all about balance.