Monday, May 6, 2013


Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the amount of clutter in your life?  I would imagine that right now you are thinking of the stuff in your bedroom, the piles on your desk at work, or perhaps the never ending to-do list of the menial and mundane stuff.  What if I asked you specifically about the PEOPLE that clutter up your life?

Do you spend some of your precious free time nurturing friendships that don't give back and then find yourself lacking time to contribute to other meaningful relationships?  Or what about the drama that can come from unhealthy friendships or unwanted relationships?  It's time to focus on Spring Cleaning and cleanse your mind and lifestyle of this unwanted clutter.

I realize that the proposed task at hand might be daunting, but think of it similar to cleaning out your closet.  Shoes that no longer fit?  Out.  Shoes that only hurt your feet so you dread wearing them?  Out.  Shoes that no longer fit with your season in life (ahem, jelly sandals)?  Out.  Once the clutter is gone, you are left with a much cleaner space to see the great shoe selection that you had all along, but was perhaps being covered by some of junk.

This can be the same with friendships and relationships.  I am a BIG believer in seasons of life and some relationships are timeless, like a great pair of black pumps, and with proper attention and care they will be with you the rest of your life.  Other friendships can have a season of purpose, but then fade or wear out, to the point that they really don't add much value to your character anymore.  Just because the shoe no longer fits or is passed its lifespan, doesn't make it a bad or evil shoe.  It served its purpose and it's time to move on.

Don't let overextending yourself with exhaustive or painful relationships clutter up the space that can allow timeless and great new relationships to shine.  Cleaning out can be hard work and maybe it doesn't mean throwing things away -- just box them up to revisit another season.

Are we still talking about shoes or friendships or dating relationships or jobs?  I'll let you pick.  No matter what you choose, Spring Cleaning is always a great catalyst for making space for the new and exciting 'shoes' to come your way.


I have recently come to the conclusion that dating is like a college semester project that never seems to end.  You start out excited about the possibilities of what you will learn, collect data, test your hypothesis about people, and then....what?  Where is the big conclusion??  As a single person I would be inclined to say that the finale is reached when you get married.  However, I am pretty sure that all of my married friends would quickly refute such a statement.  Life and love is a never ending journey of exploration and dating might be just the beginning of the data collecting process.

I am fortunate to have many 'friendtors' in my life who offer life advice and regale me with stories of days past when they were in my shoes.  This past week I had drinks with a friend about ten years older than myself and currently in the chapter of life where his primary concerns are his wife, young son, and what kind of house to buy.  A slight contrast from my current list of 'worries' which is more along the lines of caring for my health, my friendships, and where to eat delicious food on a Saturday night. 

We talked about work, mutual friends, fun things that he and his young son do together on the East Coast and then some medical anecdotes as his wife is quite the impressive medical brain.  Naturally, he then inquired about the status of my love life and I shared that I have been dating someone but fear that I am becoming overly critical in my old age.  He responded so quickly that it halted me from going any further, "BE critical!!  This is YOUR future!!"  Note the all-caps as if I was yelling at you because I am pretty sure he went for the dramatic effect to get my attention.

The comment dwelled within me throughout the rest of the weekend.  Be Critical.  Be Critical.  Guess what happened next?  A quarrel with my current beau. 

As the weekend came to an end and all arguments had been settled, my mind went back to the comment from Thursday.  I played back various romantic relationships in my life like a montage of vignettes --  a sort of highlight reel.  An odd thing stood out in all of it:  those I had loved the deepest were those I argued with most often. 

I'm not trying to say that picking a fight is a great idea and I definitely wouldn't portray my past relationships to be riddled with quarrels.  However, the relationships in which we never argued and I claimed to be blind-sided by the break-ups were often criticized to be less than authentic by my family and friends.  They questioned if I was being the truest version of myself in those relationships or if I was simply enjoying life in an easy and shallow way to go along and get along.  Such comments were never made about the more intense relationships of my past because you better believe that those boys knew where I stood on every issue.

Whether it is dating, selecting the type of food you eat, or selecting the right school or teacher for your children the advice is still the same:  Be Critical.  It's your life, your family, your choices.