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The Vintage Diaries

All about everyday life and relationships

Finding and Building Friendships

Think about the last time that you made a new friend? Or maybe grabbed lunch with an old friend? As children, it seemed so much easier to make friends than it does as an adult. As we get older, finding time becomes less and less, yet think about friendships as the equivalent to going to the gym. Friendships are vital to our health and our happiness.

As our lives shift, we can often question our likability. We may even blame ourselves and wonder why we don’t have that fantasy group of friends that everybody else in the world must have. What we must realize is that having a lot of close friends is, in fact, a fantasy for most people. Because we have so many shifts in our lives as we get older, that separates us from our friends. It’s not always easy to make friends as an adult. You feel like you want to make friends, but at the same time, you don’t want to be pushy or seem needy. So you might make a small effort and if somebody doesn’t respond with open arms, you pull back and stop trying. Instead, what we need to know is that we have to be extremely patient.

We all know that we feel better after spending time with a special friend. We feel energized, and even happier. If we have a problem and share it with them, we feel less hurt. This is why friendships have such a profound influence over our health, both physically and emotionally. Friendships decrease anxiety and depression, boost our immune system, and improve our cardiovascular system. Friendships enhance our memory and we sleep more deeply. Friendships comfort us and lower our stress levels.

Communication is so important in friendships, and with every relationship. Feeling connected to someone. It’s important to have people that we can connect to face-to-face that we can grab a cup of coffee with or dinner. Even long distance friends are important, and often, the best way to develop and keep these types of friendships healthy is to be there for the important events for them and their families. It helps to physically see each other once in a while.

Friendships are especially important to our lives and to our health, but as we get older, building and keeping them can become challenging. Looking for someone who is really present, who really pays attention is important. Somebody who is a good listener, who doesn’t try to give advice. A person who is willing to be supportive and not tell you what to do, or how you should feel is also important. It’s extremely valuable to find these types of friendships at any age. These are the people who you will become close with, these are what I like to call those vintage friendships that are really there for you.

 

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A True Measure

Sometimes I read through the headlines that are found on AOL. I found one that intrigued me on how age determines the length of a relationship. After spending some time reading the article. I found myself disagreeing with a study that looked at age gaps. If a person married someone who was a decade older or younger than they were, then their chances of divorce was greater. There were two quotes from the article that really struck me about men and women when looking at age. It looked at happiness being in the beginning, but after 6 to 10 years these marriages will end. When did age become a sole factor in a relationship? I was always under the impression that compatibility was more of a factor. When did logic overrule the feelings that develop into love? I have to question if there is truth to this thinking.

“Men who are married to younger wives are the most satisfied, and men who are married to older wives are the least satisfied.

Women are also particularly dissatisfied when they’re married to older husbands and particularly satisfied if they’re married to younger husbands.”

I know many couples who are decades older than their partners and are still together today. Women who married men 13 to 20 years younger than they are, and they are still happily married. I have seen people marry those who were much older and much younger and still have great relationships. I’ve seen it in my own family and friends. My grandmother, who had married a man ten years older, had two sisters. Mind you, my grandmother had a good marriage and there were ten years separating them. Her first sister married a man twenty years older and they stayed married through old age. Her second sister married a man her own age. Within a decade of marriage, they were divorced. I think it takes more than age to determine how long relationships will last.

Age doesn’t carry with itself a crystal ball filled with the answers to how long a relationship will last. It’s not able the number that matters. Instead, it’s about biological age, not chronological age. The study later found that age factor disappears after the marriage has lasted between 6-10 years. People mature at different times of their lives. There are some people who are in their 20s and 30s who have what I call an old soul. I couldn’t picture them married to someone their own age. There are others who are in their 40s and 50s who have a young mentality. I couldn’t see them married to someone their own age or older. It’s all about mindset and common interests. In a society where really anything goes, how can we determine how long people will stay together because of a number? It’s almost to say that we can actually determine how many heartbeats it takes for people to feel a connection to one another. Communication and respect for each other and to their goals and interests are helpful to lasting relationships.

Age can only determine so much. It’s the whole person, where they are in life, how they view life, and how committed they are to the relationship that becomes the greater factor of it working. Love sees what it wants to see, and we often don’t have control over who we will be in a relationship with in this journey.  That’s the true measure of the words to have and to hold for better or for worse.

 

 

Bells and Whistles

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There are many different types of relationships that we can have with people. Some of them are acquaintances others we call friends, but then there’s the term best friend that puzzles me. It’s not the idea of having good friends that you can trust, but rather, calling someone their ‘best’ friend. I’ve never been one to put labels on friends. At least not once I became an adult. The idea that I would have to put that kind of pressure on someone to be the very best is something that I would want to do. The other side of it is knowing how to determine who is a friend and who makes it to the grand list of best friend. That can be really complicated to do and can even hurt some feelings along the way. I wouldn’t want to hurt someone in such a way. Relationships can be hard enough. Making friends can also be difficult. So what is that we look for in finding friendship? Well, in doing a little research, I found twelve things that we look for to have lasting friendships. Think about how many of them you look for. I found ten of them myself.

The first of these qualities is finding someone who doesn’t judge us. It doesn’t matter what we wear or what kind of car that we drive, your best friend knows who you are and accepts you for being you. We look for people who are genuine, accepting, those who are trustworthy, and respect us. Looking for a friendship from a person that can be supportive of you is important. Other qualities such as someone who is forgiving, supportive, dependable, thoughtful, who is a listener, who shares in your humor, and accepts you as you are some of the qualities that brings a person to believe that someone is best friend material. Although I don’t think that I will practice using the term, I’m sure that there are those out there that do. Even if you or don’t choose to call someone a best friend, we can still look for these qualities in a person.

No one is perfect and that to me is better than having friends who try too hard to be the example or poster child for friendship. I tend to think that if you can be real with me and real with yourself, that’s a quality that’s hard to come by today. I tend to not look at the pictures on Facebook or Instagram to determine a person’s life. It’s filtered media that is created by the person posting.  There isn’t a requirement for how we choose our friends, just as long as it works for the person who is choosing. I find far and few people who meet every quality listed, but even if I can find a few of those qualities, that does work for me. I often look for a connection to take place. Having common interests and knowing a person’s heart is more important to me.

You can be assured that I’m not impressed by much of is on the internet because for me it’s a person’s actions in the real world that give merit. Finding the right friendship for me is as equally important as finding the right recipe for macaroni and cheese. The more bells and whistles, the better.

Bringing back Woodstock

Forty-eight years ago today, was the first day of Woodstock. This was an event that promoted for three days peace and music. Imagine having such an event like that today? I think that there would be some hope for us to have unity. I use to turn on the television and read the newspaper without seeing constant anger. Riots and protests are replacing peace and quiet. I think about it this way, three days of being able to believe whatever you want to believe, but in a way that draws love. That is pretty powerful to say the least.  I think that if you are able to live in harmony with people, you’re a well-rounded person, who can accept each other for who you are in world.

Think about it this way. Growing up in the 1970s, there were lots of songs that promoted peace and love. I included a few of them to listen to by clicking on one of the two words. Black and White was performed by Three Dog Night and War was performed by Edwin Star. These are two of my favorite songs when I think about what we are going through so much indifference today.

Black and White by Three Dog Night

War by Edwin Star

These were the songs that became popular. Listeners thrived on it. I have to think that they were on to something. In some ways, maybe we have to turn back to this type of music to change people’s hearts. Perhaps if these songs are played enough times on the radio and in the world, we could spread a different message than the one that we are listening to today. Why not take out the peace signs and bell bottoms again.

The more that I listen to people. The more that I realize that if we don’t start changing our hearts toward valuing each other, we are going to be in for a really difficult world. Instead of marching for equality with signs and demonstrations. Why don’t we celebrate it through acts of kindness and appreciation for one another?  We can read the newspaper or watch the news and listen to the good things that are happening, instead of watching a revival of negativity. We could return to a time of inspiration and influence where we can decide who we want to be. We don’t have to be like borrowed books sitting on a shelf. Instead, we can live with a poetic vision and a Woodstock feel for tomorrow.

When Alone

With technology taking over, we are more alone than ever. Instead of talking with people or spending time with others, we have become more reliant on ourselves. That’s not a bad thing, if we know to embrace it. Knowing how to use solitude wisely can bring about a renewed self. Without understanding how to be alone, solitude becomes a part of fear and loneliness.

Loneliness use to be something only heard of in the older generation. Instead, loneliness occurs at every age, with an increasing number of people experiencing isolation regularly. That feeling of disconnect comes from a decrease of socializing, a lack of having people to socialize with, and increase in people living alone. Perhaps you have children who keep you busy, or a full-time job that seems to add more and more work on you. Isolation can still happen. The value of our lives changes often, and that’s a good thing. Although, I still have to think about the ‘loneliness epidemic’ that people are calling a national public health crisis. Who knew that something like this would happen? When did being your own best friend become a crisis?

If we think about it, it’s really about our happiness and how satisfied we are in our lives. With that in mind, being alone and having solitude can give us an opportunity to have a more positive self. This can be seen in people who turn to meditation. They practice a mindful approach to silence and can have peace of mind. There are advantages to practicing silence, such as expressing more gratitude for what we have currently in life, silence can help us to think about the challenges and visualizing solutions, and it can bring about a chance to reminisce or reflect on past events. Even if we aren’t entirely comfortable with silence and solitude, we can learn something positive about being alone. It is a skill that takes time to learn, but can be beneficial. If we focus less on why we are alone, and more on what is next for me? We can begin the process of embracing what has become the basis for connecting us as people.

Compromise with a Capital C

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Compromise, it’s one of those words that often define what you are willing to change or willing to put aside for a relationship. The goal is to smooth things over the rough edges that can happen in any relationship. Compromise can also be great when is done in small doses. Giving extra help with errands once in a while can otherwise help a relationship to continue functioning. This compromise does not threaten our core needs, our desires, or wants from a relationship. However, when we start compromising the essential parts of which we are this is when we see the cracks develop. It’s those essential parts that developed the basic foundation of the relationship.

In a healthy relationship, each person is allowed to meet his or her needs together with the other person. Anything lesser demands that both people change in a way that is deep and meaningful so to meet the needs of the other person. This is often backward since the relationship should serve the other person in it. Let’s say a relationship that has excessive compromise involves two important parts: communication and sharing. If these two individuals agree that they are important to the relationship than all works well. However, if both people disagree as to what is equally important, it may be more difficult the relationship to meet both of their needs. This often causes stress and even resentment in a relationship. When one person has to meet the needs of the other person, while leaving their own needs aside, if the need is an essential part of which they are, this where neglect and hurt develops.

In a new relationship, we vow a willingness to give anything and everything up to be with the other person. Unfortunately, we often don’t realize the cost of what you are giving up and the same thing can happen at the end of a relationship when we push the hurt down and promise the world if only that person will give you another chance. Sometimes those incompatibilities and compromises are the capital C in the relationship. It warns us how important compromise can either make or break a relationship. The end result, little compromises are natural and often times unavoidable but be careful not to give up too much of what is important to you for the sake of your relationship that it takes away who you are as a person. It’s what’s meant to be.

Great Expectations

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Have you ever met someone that instantly you clicked with them, but over time that relationship just seemed to disappoint you? It could be anyone, a family member, a relationship, a friendship; no matter the type of relationship it is, there was still something about it that just doesn’t seem to work out. Maybe they make promises and don’t keep them. Or maybe they play games with your feelings. Either way, there is no easy cure for hurt and disappointment.

Hurt and disappointment lead to expectations. Expectations aren’t bad to have, but accepting both good and bad outcomes and be okay with either is often easier said and done. Many years ago, I had a friend say to me about relationships expect the worst and hope for the best. I didn’t quite understand how could you enter a relationship expecting the worst outcome to happen, but after enough time had gone by I began to expect that out of people. I thought this way because I began to question people’s behavior, especially why they didn’t care. I also began to think about how I could change the situation from affecting me.

Often times, I learned that people can certain traits that brought them to being hurtful and disappointing. Some were self-centered and others were childish and lazy. We know that the other person can change because we think that they will; that this time it will be different because we helped them or made them promise to change ten times harder than the last time. The hardest part is that the process doesn’t come from the other person, but it comes out of your own mind. The truth is about having to accept that the other person is stuck in their habits. It’s not about you. They are stuck inside a room that you can’t enter and you will never be seen from inside of it. Either the other person leaves that room or opens a window in order to be able to give you what you need. You can’t force them to leave that room, but you can be honest with them about what behavior you can’t tolerate. They must be the ones to decide to the work themselves.

Changing behavior isn’t an easy process. These are behaviors that have been ingrained in them for years and years. This is where peaceful acceptance takes place. This is where you learn to accept the person for who they are and it’s not about forcing yourself to find acceptance, but rather it’s about being okay with letting go of the pain. It’s about respecting the idea of healing yourself and then deciding where you want for the future if you want this person at all in your future.

Write the pros and cons about the other person are to start by making decisions about where they belong in your life. Highlight the ones that are most important to you from sides, the pro side and the con side. Next, calculate the sum and weigh those feelings. Take the time to think about how you feel about the other person in a conscious statement to figure out if this relationship is worth the energy and time to keep.

It’s like my friend would tell me, expect the worst and hope for the best. It’s all that is meant to be. It’s either a part of your life plan. Don’t be afraid to let go if a relationship, friend, family, or otherwise isn’t working as you had hoped. In the end, it’s about understanding the plan that is meant for your life and what will be best for you.

In the Name of Celebrity Love

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Ever remember growing up and loving that one, maybe even two or more of your favorite celebrities. Maybe it was during your teenage years, when you hung up posters on your bedroom walls and watched every movie or video they were ever in. I don’t think that there was ever an era where celebrity loves and crushes didn’t exist. Think about Beetle mania or even some of the television and reality shows that are out there today. Even social media has made it easier to find something extra special about a celebrity that we haven’t even met. Is it the idea of fame and fortune? Or is it that we found someone who find attractive, but wouldn’t have met them otherwise if it wasn’t for television and music.  Perhaps there are those of us out there who still crush on that same celebrity well into adulthood. What do we do with those feelings? Do we tuck them away and hope to find a duplicate person in our neighborhoods, or do we just hold those feelings in our hearts hoping to get over it? These are the questions that I find myself asking when I look at the magazines that are waiting to be bought for readership and the Instagram pictures of famous people that we follow. The truth is that it’s not that hard to get caught up in it. So many high-profile people share their lives with fans and interested suitors. It’s not hard to get caught up in their lives.

Just recently, I was scrolling through my Instagram account and found a reality star, whose show that I have watched for years. They have no idea who I am, and why should they, to them I’m just a fan. A boring Saturday afternoon took through the pictures of their neighborhood, their dog, nieces, nephews, cousins, and social gatherings. I found myself caught up in a life that wasn’t even mine. I realized that for many, the idea of meeting such a person can really be a reality. It’s a lot like building a relationship as you would with the friends that you currently have in your life. I don’t think it’s easy by no means. Actually, I would think it would be much harder, especially since many celebrities do wish to have a private life, but a good friend of mine showed me that with commitment and passion, you can build relationships with people in the public eye. Still, I go back to the question, what do you do with the feelings of a celebrity crush or love? Where do you put those feelings? Let’s face it, feelings are feelings.

Seventeen Magazine had written an article that gave tips on how to meet your celeb crush. There’s even a novel out entitled Fangirl, a fictional tale of a mega famous pop-star who falls in love with his number one fan. Being trustworthy, standing out in their favorite color, writing songs (this is how it happened in Fangirl), posting cute Twitter profile pictures, tweeting friendly here and there, and meeting them away from other fans where all ways that were suggested. Many of the same ways that a person might want to meet that guy or girl they see at a restaurant.

The more that I read about celebrity love, the more that I realize that there are many people who have such feelings; you can’t help who catches your attention. At the same time, what is meant to be will be. I’ll have to remember that the next time I turn on Bravo to watch some of my most favorite shows. It’s all in the name of celebrity love.

Family Album

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This past weekend, my family had a few birthdays to celebrate. There are just certain months each year where I’m overpowered by birthdays, and other months with none. One of my family members is two days shy of his brother’s birthday. We decided that in order to celebrate the January birthdays we go out to dinner. However, when it came time to meet I was left with just one family member. I can’t remember the last time I had family say yes and then back out at the last minute. The unfortunate part of it is that it’s the same family member that does it. For birthdays and even holidays, he always decides last minute not to attend. I wonder how many other people go through this in their families, or is it just mine?

When did it become acceptable to become so distant? This is a question that I’m starting to ask myself. With friends, as much as it hurts, it happens. Although with family, it’s a different story. These are people that I remember as a child growing up with, relatives that I looked up to. I never imagined that there would be a time in my life that I would have to worry about being alone and without family around. When my grandparents were still with us we didn’t have this problem. I didn’t think about the older generation being the glue that kept our family as a family, but I was wrong. Perhaps it’s hurt from our grandparents no longer being with us. Or maybe our relationships weren’t as close as I thought they were and I made them up in my imagination. All of these ideas may be the causes for my family becoming so distant.

It’s like a puzzle that never gets solved. With just a few miles apart from each other, you would think it would be long distances that would keep families apart. The role of the family is changing just as quickly as our everyday relationships. A grim and dark reality, building a meaningful relationship is slowly becoming less common. We have become so caught up in our own lives. The reason for it is that those are the lives that they are living. We are living in a stressed out society. Pressures are becoming greater and the idea of opening our homes is showing less value. Granted, not every person lives by this thinking, and that’s a good thing.  My hope is that as time moves on, what will be meant to be won’t be becoming more distant, but rather to return to the dreams that our childhoods were made of…good old fashioned relationships. The ones where we sat around the table and looked at the family album of pictures and retold stories. The stories that we could think back on, smile, and remember.

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