My oldest and dearest friend is in town for a couple weeks on business but she asked to stay with me for the weekend. I hadn’t seen her since her wedding in September and she’s never had the chance to visit the city since I moved here so I couldn’t be more excited. Since Thursday, I’ve been trying to put together the perfect weekend for us; I planned to capture all the scenic highlights and culinary staples in a two-day nutshell.
Saturday was easy-peasy. Since she loves to hike, I chose a trail along the foggy coast where we wove our way through signature views to historical remains nearby. A few days ago, she mentioned craving Shanghai-style dumplings since they’re practically nonexistent back home, so I managed to snag reservations at the unanimously local favorite joint just in time to warm us up after our chilly morning hike. Later that afternoon, we meandered though the city’s hidden streets lined with darling little boutique shops where we found trendy culinary stops she was excited to try. The night ended at home, chatting late into the night on the couch after a homemade meal for two. Needless to say, Saturday was simply wonderful.
Today was not so easy though. I tossed and turned all last night trying to modify my plans for the coming morning, just to top our Saturday. I was so overwhelmed with fear that my friend — my oldest friend who would sit in a room silently reading books with me all day, or just stare at the ceiling with me talking about silly nothings for hours — would find me boring, I sleeplessly worried all night that my plans wouldn’t be good enough for her. So much so that by the time morning came, I recruited a friend to spend the day with us so that I could squeeze ideas out of him. I even wanted to impress her with (a rather absurd) breakfast and instructed my friend to pick up ingredients on his way over. During breakfast, I casually tested some ideas I had but once breakfast was over and she snuck off for a morning chat with the hubs, I cornered him and bombarded him with questions about food, activities, places to go, everything. It was like I didn’t know how to make a decision about anything anymore. This fear crippled me so much, I didn’t even hear him when he told me he actually had somewhere important to be and wasn’t even planning to spend all day with us. (His sister’s newborn had a rough start into the world a few days ago so he wanted to check in on mom and baby their first day home.) In other words, serious stuff…but I heard none of it.
But what was I really worried about? My friend having a good time or me? Was I even concerned about her enjoying the weekend or was I solely focused on making myself look good? I fell so dangerously back into selfish thinking that not only was I waking old frustrations from my own fears, I was creating frustrations — even anger — in my friends. I was so consumed with myself, it left me with zero concern, zero compassion, for the well-being of others.
I prevented myself from enjoying the present and them from enjoying the company.
But there is no point in dwelling on my embarrassing behavior today, feeling discouraged about it, and punishing myself over it. So tonight, I’m acknowledging my setback and to my dear friends, I’m apologizing for my behavior — for not exhibiting the love I seek in my relationships, like with these very friends. But tonight, I’m also saying that it’s okay to stumble once in awhile. Every moment is a learning opportunity and today was certainly an example of some struggles we can face. Tonight, I can now identify the rush of feelings I get when selfish thoughts start filling my mind. I can now better understand how to control them and transform them into thoughts of compassion.
And tomorrow, I will hold my head up high and keep persevering because one setback won’t bring me down. The journey continues.
DAY 14. Love, Ro