I have always been a people person. Some have called me a “social butterfly.” I just love being around others. I am at my absolute best when I am in the company of those I care about. Which is why it is definitely taking some adjusting getting used to truly living on my own for the first time in my life. I cannot just go down the hall here at the apartment complex and chat with people like I used to do when I was in the dorms at Kent State.
I have no roommate or girlfriend. I am truly alone. It’s a scary and sobering experience. Until I remember my circle of friends.
You know, as I get older, I realize it’s so much more important to have a close, tight-knit circle of people there for you when times get tough, or you approach a new stage in life. Many acquaintances are a dime a dozen. But a handful of true friends and family are like fine gems. Hard to find and impossible to replace.
I don’t know if she was right. But for some reason, a quote by a character named Karen Page from one of my favorite TV series, The Punisher, hits home: “Sometimes I feel that all life is, is trying not to be lonely.” I think there’s definitely an element of truth to that.
But I have leaned on my family and friends through everything, and they have leaned on me too when they’ve needed help and support. They’ve gotten me through many rough and uncertain spots. From two college degrees, the death of my cousin and grandmother, the worst breakup I’ve ever had, and getting my own place. If they weren’t here, I’d be in a world of hurt. I’d be an absolute emotional wreck.
I’ll never understand people who completely close themselves off from this kind of support either. Humans are social creatures, meant to be in the company of other people. That’s how God created us. To love and to be loved. When we close ourselves off, we become bitter, miserable and angry. And who in the hell wants to live like that? I don’t!
I feel I should tell you a little bit about the people who are the biggest stabilizing influence in my life right now, starting with my family.
The two-parent, “normal” family is rare anymore. But I am glad my mother Stacy, and father, Larry have been married for almost 30 years. (Their 30th Anniversary is actually on July 12th!) Have they had a perfect marriage? Absolutely not. But they have raised my sister and I in a loving home. They’re old school in their values, such as hard work, having faith in God, and respecting others. But “old school” is refreshing in a world where it seems like everyone is so confused about many things!
I view Mom and Pop as two personalities that balance each other out. Especially when it came to raising me. Pop was “the heavy” and laid down the law when I screwed up. But he was, and still is also the first one to give me a hug and encourage me when I do right! He showed me how important it is to be a man with character. He’s taught me to be a man who says what he means, means what he says, and who tries to live by that. And to stand up for people and myself. He toughened me up.
Mom was definitely the nurturing one, as most mothers probably tend to be with their children. She was patient with me growing up when I was a small boy with Cerebral Palsy. I am sure it absolutely was not easy seeing me walk with braces or a walker. Or teaching me necessary life skills. That’s probably hard enough for a parent with a physically normal child. Let alone one with a condition of any kind. But she let me know I was loved all the same. I was not “different” or “ugly” or not worthy of love. I was just me 🙂
My sister, Christy and I definitely have different personalities. She is Type A, where she is very goal-oriented and driven, and that’s awesome! I myself am definitely Type B, in that I still work hard at something I want to accomplish, but I think I slow down and try to enjoy life more because I cannot go at her speed or pace. I tried doing that in the past and it drove me crazy, stressed me out, and simply wasn’t me. What makes us happy also seems different. If I had people over here in the apartment to visit, or I went home to visit Mom and Pop, that would make me happy in that I am a homebody. Someone who feels content to be close to family and loved ones always. Christy and I both love our family, but she’s more of the adventurous type who travels a lot and sees new things. I want to be more like her in that way. One of these days I want to travel either to Las Vegas or England to visit a friend and her family!
No matter how different we are personality-wise though, I am also learning something important as time passes: The sibling rivalry of the past (and we had a LOT of it), fades. And you start to realize that you can get along better, and be there for each other when needed. I now chuckle at, and agree with what Mom used to say. It was annoying at the time, especially after she broke up fights between Christy and I, but now it makes perfect sense: “You two are the only siblings you’re ever going to have! So quit fighting and get along! Because one day your Dad and I will not be here!”
I am truly fortunate to have my family. I always have to work not to take it for granted that I have such a good one. Because in today’s society, a tight, two-parent family who is always there for each other is a rarity. Or at least it’s becoming more and more rare unfortunately. Where children learn to be decent people, and how to treat others, begins in the home, with hopefully a good family. And when times get rough, if this person has a good family like I do, they are supported, loved, and helped through everything until they can get back on their feet. Aside from Jesus’ sacrifice and life itself, my family is God’s greatest blessing!
But I also have other blessings too. They’re called friends! Stay tuned, and you’ll meet my friends Tony, Slade, Alex, Dave, and Melissa 🙂
Until then, catch ya on the flipside everybody!