A week ago, my husband lost a close and dear friend rather unexpectedly. They grew up together, and had known each other over 35 years. My husband, the great story teller that he is, told me of their numerous adventurous and funny childhood experiences they had together. Whenever he does, movies such as “Stand By Me” and “The Outsiders” come to mind. Over the years, though, due to life circumstances and personal choices, they grew apart. Yet, once in a while, they and a few other close friends would get together, hang out, and reminisce. Although I met him several times, I did not get to know him very well because our lives were very different. Sometimes I even felt it unwise for my husband to hang out with him. In times of difficulties, my husband tried to help him, encouraged him to make better choices for his life, but in the end none followed through. My husband would get frustrated and angry, and I often told him that it is not easy to change a person if the desire to change does not come from within. He knew that, but he wanted so much for his friend to be healthy and happy. I knew that my husband greatly cared about him and loved him, and I believe that the feeling was mutual between the two.
Lately, there have been many occasions that made me think about the choices we make in life. Of course, many of our choices are automatic or habitual. Some circumstances, such as career choices, personal illness, and loss, are some of the things that force us to think about the consequences of our decisions.
The recent opportunities for self-reflection came indirectly, but continue to capture my mind. Self-reflection is not to criticize your own actions or the actions of others, but to simply to look at choices objectively for the purpose to either affirm or contemplate possible changes in the future. It is a meditative process. Many of us are living in a fast pace world that distracts us with so much information that it is difficult to find the time and energy for meaningful reflection.
If you have not done this lately, I encourage you to take some time this week to self-reflect. 10-20 minutes would suffice. You may want to write down your thoughts. When you do so, remember to be compassionate and non-judgmental toward yourself and others.