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Feed Your Life

I went up to State College recently to pick up my cousin because he is now able to do all of his freshman year classes virtually. As we made our way down the single lane road into Happy Valley, it hit me that I hadn't been in town for over two years and so many memories came flooding back. Suddenly the last 10 years played on a reel in my brain and as the day went on I realized how much I have grown and how much my life really has changed despite the fact that I have such a hard time acknowledging any of it. But let's get to the point here.

As I reminisced internally, my cousin was asking me all about my classes, my friends, and my overall experience as a college freshman. Sidenote: It's always so interesting to me the way we find comfort in relating our experiences to people who "did that part of life" before us knowing full well that there is slim to zero chance that our own experience will be even slightly similar. He seemed most interested in how I made my lifelong friends. He has met several of my friends through the years and his curiosity sat in how to maintain friendships over such a long period of time. The conversation turned into how to create, escalate, and maintain meaningful relationships, period.

Now, I definitely don't consider myself a relationship or friendship guru, but I do believe that having a "tribe" is an essential part of learning to appreciate yourself - flaws and all. And so I explained to my little baby 18 year old cousin that while i've had many friends over the years, i've learned to invest in the relationships that feed my life. This is the phrase that stuck to the hour-long conversation that followed. You can imagine how excited I was to talk about my favorite humans and how incredibly grateful I am to have found people in my life that make me better. But it was way more than that. It was admitting that well, frankly, friendship is a commitment. Keeping up with people, letting them feel heard, knowing how to be there for someone, and being vulnerable enough to build trust ---- it doesn't happen overnight and it takes effort. The absolute hardest part though? Knowing who to do it for and who is willing to do it for you.

This is where the idea of feeding your life kept coming into the conversation. It's unnecessary to over-work and overwhelm yourself trying to make yourself valuable to someone. And vice versa. Sometimes people are going to come into your life for just a moment. That moment could last a week, a month, or a year. I've had decade-old friendships that have just run their course. Because growth and change are hard to cope with. And sometimes you grow away from people that at one point you could never imagine living without. Not all friendships last a lifetime. And thats okay. It doesn't mean you failed. It just means that person's role in your life and yours in theirs has been fulfilled. It's okay to let go and keep growing. This might be harsh, but once a relationship stops feeding your life in a positive way - it's time to call it quits. Stop trying so hard to save parts of your life that no longer bring you light. Don't drown yourself trying to save a sinking ship. Because what you're really doing is taking yourself away from the relationships that are actually meaningful, purposeful, and everlasting.

But Aisha, how can you tell the difference?

Simple answer y'all. The well-built ships won't feel like they are sinking. They will just be there. They won't need to be saved. They won't drag you down. And they certainly won't be unreliable. They will, however, need to be cared for and remembered and appreciated. But doing those things won't ever feel like work. And the best part? They'll check on you too. They'll make sure you're okay, take you out when you need a beer, call you (even if you hate talking on the phone), and send you "miss you" cookies just because. They'll want you to be there just as much as you want them. Those friendships will fill your heart (or fuel your engine if we are sticking with the ship thing?).

The relationships that are natural, exciting, laughter-filled, honest, and forever ... well, those are the ones that you could probably forget about but you couldn't live without.

And to me, that's what it means to feed your life.

Pssst..... now go check-in on your tribe, y'all. Tell them you love 'em and be grateful they stay afloat.

1 Comment

Salimah Handa
Salimah Handa
Dec 03, 2020

Love you...

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