Posted by: joha5 | May 17, 2010

A ‘Friendly’ Reminder

Going through a long and laborious process of unemployment really tests the fiber of one’s being.  It tests your patience, it tests your ego, it tests your faith, it tests your confidence, and most of all it tests your ability to be happy.  As a consequence, it becomes paramount to one’s survival to find respite in the smaller things in life.  I have always had an appreciation for the smaller things but nothing really rejuvenates me as much as seeing a group of very old friends. 

I had a very close group of friends in high school who are now spread out across Washington, D.C. and the rest of the east coast of the United States and because of the distance we rarely see each other – or rather, I rarely see them.  I don’t talk to them as much as I should or would like to and I don’t keep in contact with them on a daily basis and we can often go a couple of years between meetings.  However, when I see them it is like no time has gone by at all.  Sure, it is a tiny bit awkward at first while we dust off the cobwebs of our friendship and get caught up with each other and the events that have shaped our lives since we last embraced but it makes me realize how remarkably timeless good friendships can really be. 

The occasion that served as the catalyst for our reunion last night was a friend who was in town for the weekend from New York City with his girlfriend.  When I arrived there were 16 people sat at a long table adorned with a feast of crabs, pasta salad, potatoes, and plenty of wine and beer to go around.  I grabbed a beer and sat down to listen to my friend’s successes and adventures over the past couple of years.  As they began detailing their lives to me I couldn’t help but feel a little embarrassed of my situation.  Here I was brandishing a couple of Masters Degrees, a Bachelors Degree, great work experience, and I literally felt like I had nothing to show for it to tell them about. 

A Backyard Feast

“So what have you been up to then, Jon?” they would ask.

“Umm…well, you know.  I’ve been doing all sorts of stuff but just can’t seem to find a job and haven’t had any luck for quite some time now” I would respond. 

I expected a shrug, a pause of indifference, and – unreasonably – anticipated to be looked down upon.  I didn’t want to be judged.  I didn’t want to have anybody make suggestions to me about what to do with my life or how I should go about finding a career.  I just wanted to enjoy their company, hear about what they have been up to, and to be reassured that things will work out for me sooner rather than later.  I wanted them to just look at me for me. 

As you can imagine, my unemployment and my insecurity about it was not an issue to these old friends at all.  We sat around regaling stories of old and we all shared our own pieces of success and pieces of frustration during the past few years.  In spite of everything that we had all gone through, we were equal and we embraced each other as old friends so often do.  It wasn’t about posturing or bragging or demonstrating who had come the farthest and what they had done to get there.  It was just about a meeting of like minds and old friends who will always be there to support each other even if we aren’t involved in each others lives on a day-to-day basis anymore. 

I left the reunion feeling whole again.  This is not to say that I was broken before we had met.  I wasn’t.  Whatever emotional sustenance I received from last night’s meeting was severely needed on my end.  I felt reassured, I felt confident, and I felt like no matter what happens in life or what path I take in the coming years that I will always be surrounded by good friend’s love and support.  Sometimes I think that just being reminded how loved and supported I am is all I need to realize just how damn lucky I really am.

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Responses

  1. since I quit my job and been stranded in a bad economy i can truly relate to how you feel. I tend to isolate myself because I embarrassment and inability to answer the usual questions.

    • Yeah, it is really tough to push through and deal with it. Some days are better than others for me but it is definitely nice to be reminded by my friends that all of this will eventually come to an end sooner or later. Sometimes you just gotta go out there and face the world no matter how tough it may be. It’s not always fun but it’s always worth it in the end.


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