Why Our Friendships Always Run Out Of Gas

It’s beautiful day out and my car is full with friends; we’re on our way back from visiting more friends. The right tunes are vibrating out of the speakers, with all of us in high spirits and just enjoying each others company.

I look down through the steering wheel and do a double-take, since I’m hoping that what I’m seeing isn’t true. And with comedic timing, the wheel stiffens as my car slides into neutral and I guide it to the far right shoulder of the road.

We are completely out of gas.

For what it’s worth, this  never happens to me has happened to me to many times in the past calendar year. I should’ve learned my lesson from the first time, since I know my car loves to throw obscure, over-exaggerated estimates on how much mileage it has left until empty, like it’s some grossly overconfident jock judging how much Axe body spray to put on. But I didn’t, so there I sat, waiting for the last of our momentum to be expended before we stopped at a dead halt.

Yeah, this one’s my fault.

I glance around the rest of the car sheepishly and relay the update in our current situation, and I’m met with the reactions I figured I’d find.

The thing is, friendships are not unlike the car I had unwittingly depleted of gas to leave it dead on the side of the highway. Much like the gas, and regular servicing that the car needs, the relationships we have with the people around us need to be maintained.

Friendships are a very real vehicle that will help carry us to where we need to go, all the while supporting us along the way. There are good cars and bad cars, new ones and old ones, efficient vehicles and gas guzzlers. The same can be said for friendships and relationships.

There are good friendships and bad ones, old and new friends, friendships who don’t need much, and ones who need the world.

The reality is that we let a variety of factors stop us from keeping our friendships running. Whether it’s effort (or a lack of), personal anxieties, or we just simply don’t know how to keep our relationships strong, many of us have let people and friends go by the wayside because the vehicle wasn’t getting what it needed to keep running.

I’ve seen too many times where people grow distant because their own anxieties made them believe they’d be bothering the other person if they reached out.

I’ve watched people who used to be inseparable, separate because they couldn’t be bothered to make small gestures necessary for friendship to live.

Sometimes, we don’t really know how to keep a relationship breathing and so naturally, it fades out with the wavering hope that they may be rekindled somewhere down the road.

I’ve always had a personal pride around the maintenance of my friendships, and sometimes I felt like this came across as annoying to some people- and that’s okay. It doesn’t happen often, and if you really want to keep the people who matter most to you around, sometimes you’re going to have to reach out in ways that make you uncomfortable. We as humans are incredibly social creatures, in fact we depend on it, but we let a myriad of other factors influence us in contrasting directions.

In other words, assess who you need in your life and rid yourself of any other external factor, like doubt, fear of rejection or the unknown, and put what needs to be put in to your relationships. The easy way out might feel easier at the time, but keeping the people you want around you is both rewarding and fulfilling- and something you’ll probably thank yourself for down the road.

Every car needs things to keep it running, and your friendships are no different.

To read more on friendship, click here and here.

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The Past Will Haunt You And The Future Can Destroy You, If You Let It

Aside from maybe when I was a kid, times where I’m truly ‘in the moment’ are rare for me.

And honestly, up until a couple weeks ago, I was entirely ignorant of it and what it was doing to me. Sure, I’ve heard endless clichés about “living in the moment” and cherishing the time you have in the present, but I had become so desensitized that they were left at just that: clichés.

Call it ignorance, call it whatever you want; the fact is that I was obsessing over the past and thinking too much about the future. Apart from the fact that this completely robbed me of the whole, complete, enjoyment in most of what I was doing, the effects it had on my mind are clear.

Depressive moods, like sadness and regret, have an intricately dependent relationship with the past. Basically, sadness is caused by something that has happened at some point in our past- fresh and recent, or long ago. These two sister-like characteristics of sadness and the past rely on each other, coexisting. They share the fact that neither really thrive without the other. If you feel sadness, especially regret, it is because of something that has already happened- not something impending and coming soon. An easy way I found to look at it objectively was to think about how I feel after leaving a holiday, or a vacation of some sort. Naturally, I’m a little bummed because the glow is over and in the past- everything else in life is not much different.

Now you may be thinking of how you can be sad about something in the future, however it is a different quality found there.

Anxiety is based on fear about the future, and this fear (like it’s cousin, sadness) is also entirely dependent on the concept of the future. You simply can’t be anxious about something in the past, because it is done. Therefore, it is this other, futuristic side of the spectrum that hold this pair of correlated concepts. Another way to look at it is the excitement I feel before the glory of the incredible vacation mentioned earlier, as excitement and anxiety are so closely related emotionally that they can be viewed in the same sense. It is this excitement that is brought on solely by the anticipation of an event coming in the future.

Sadness is caused from an event of our past while anxiety looms from something in our future.

This may seem like common sense, but the reality is that most of us (and myself, without a doubt) aren’t aware of it, which means we can’t really counter it properly.

The truth is that my habit of living in the future and always thinking 5 steps ahead of myself was giving me anxieties that I wouldn’t have had I put my mind in a better place to enjoy the moment.
In short, I was always thinking about my next move, the next part of my day, and what was to come after whatever I was doing currently.

Like I mentioned earlier, this also affects the satisfaction of experiencing the moment, and I was making things way less enjoyable for myself.

If you’ve ever been surrounded in the bliss of a warm summer vacation, you likely know exactly what it’s like to be lounging in the sun, maybe on a beach or by some water- with not a thing to do or worry about except relaxing and enjoying every second. There’s a whole host of other factors that contribute to these habits, like my cellphone and busy mentality.

Just like any other group of habits, there are ways to replace them with better ones.

Focusing on engaging your senses is the bees-knees when trying to stay in the moment. Concentrating on things you can see, feel, hear, taste, and smell is exactly what helps to keep you anchored in the present. Sounds so simple, right? Unfortunately, with technology and all it’s progresses, this becomes increasingly more difficult. The human mind is more engaged than ever before, thanks to these cellular ‘joys’ of innovation, so being mindful of the moments that make up your life gets harder and harder. The effect that being present in each moment you experience does wonders for your own mental health, so taking time to realize it’s importance daily can really reinforce the good feelings of psychological tranquility- which always seem to increasingly more elusive as the stresses and negativities in life pile up.

Just spreading a friendly service reminder of something most people know somewhere within themselves, in order to help keep what matters most at the forefront. As for me, I’m trying to get better at living fresh- and passing along my thoughts in the meantime.

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Love Will Not Work Without These 3 Things

What a week! After spending time vacationing in beautiful, British Columbia (and giving myself a quick concussion on the way…), I’m filled with inspiration to write about something that I myself have little experience in: love. I’m not a married man, nor some guru of romance, so naturally the inspiration came from two of the sweetest people who find themselves nestled into Nelson, B.C..
Grandma and Gramps have lived in a little honey-hole on the lake for almost 25 years, and have been together happily and successfully for 52 years. I’ve known them for over a decade now, but spending time in their home as they hosted myself and some of my friends (and their grandson of course) allowed me to get to know them a little more intimately then I had previously.

As someone who doesn’t even know what my next week looks like, to see people who have managed 52 years in the company of one another is something I can’t even begin to fathom- but after talking to them I begin to understand.

Grandma and I walk out in to the garden, flowers and plants surrounding the borders of the property, only ending for the expanse of the deep blue that is the lake.

Yeah, the Kootenay lake is their backyard. Gentle mountains cozied around the lake finish off the view that happens to be their every day view.

We take a seat, and I mention to Grandma about why I wanted to talk to her. I explain that I was taken aback to see a happy, vibrant love between two people who have spent more than double the time together than I have spent on the earth, and that I was eager to find out how she makes it work.

For anyone that knows Grandma, the joy and energy that bubbles out of her is always apparent and this surely doesn’t change for our conversation. She immediately begins talking about her main man, and how important he is to her.

The love and compassion she so evidently possesses for the love of her life is visible in far more than her words; when looking at her mannerisms and body language it’s easy to see that this is easy to talk about.

After talking to her, I wrote down the pillars that hold up her love, relationship, and marriage.

1. Love and most of it’s success is hinged on you and how you govern yourself within it to foster growth.

The first of what I gather while talking to her corrects a way I had been thinking up until this point. In my comparatively miniscule experience, I had been under the impression that finding the right partner was 99 percent of the battle. Quickly after talking to Grandma, I come to realize that this isn’t quite right. How we act, how we respond, and how we behave play a tremendous role in the success of our relationships- and is something we will always be able to control.

2. Patience, and understanding how important this is in your relationship is crucial.

“We all think differently, we’re on different levels.” Realizing that there will be struggles, and that not every day is roses is key. Much like the hours of winding roads endured to get to the mountains required patience, love requires patience and endurance.

3. Being mindful and willing to communicate, while also understanding the importance of it.

Everyone knows how to communicate when they need something badly, but understanding the importance of talking about things is essential. Much of the time it’s external factors, like our egos, or emotions that prevent us from communicating in the right way. Mostly everyone knows that talking is good, but simply being mindful of how important it is, combined with a willingness to talk about things in the right way go a long way.

. . .

One profound aspect explained to me by Grandma is the nature of how dynamic and changing we as people are. We will always be changing, and having a willingness to grow and change together is an ingredient of success in a partnership. Being adaptable is a terrific quality, and factoring in someone else and how they may change is amazing. Growth is a motivating concept, and the thought of growing alongside someone else, in sync is extremely attractive.

As we sit on the bench swing, the compassion that radiates from her is immense. Time and time again she stresses how important Grandpa is to her, yet even without her repeating these comments, they are found subliminally in virtually everything she says. 

I thank her for sitting down to chat with me and she hurries off to continue her day- only stopping to give Gramps a quick kiss as she passes by.

Gramps with the proudest catch of his life, and a fish

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