Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Brutal spring cleaning of life

God I itch to spring clean. Not my house, but my friendships. Being the world's greatest procrastinator (as I am now, instead of writing my book which I am so behind on it is frightening) I spend far too much time on facebook (and eBay looking for cheapie maternity clothes, but that is another story) for my own good. Here is what I do: I feel disappointed when I have no messages. I read with interest tedious status updates from people I worked with about twelve years ago in telly and haven't seen since. Nor do I want to see ever again - yet, here I am reading about how they went to friggin yoga, or are predictably hungover or have some inane poetic drivel to spout to fill their clearly vacuous lives. I trawl through wedding, holiday and even random photos where my 'friends' might only be tagged in one of the 57 pics - yet I study them all. Why? Then I write some equally tedious update about my day - when in reality - who gives a fuck? Out of my ridiculous 300 mates how many are my real mates? 30 tops? Why am I on this damn thing? To connect with folk? It connects me with people I don't actually know. Or care about. Acquaintances that once passed through my life, but not friends, not the people who you can call mid meltdown on a Saturday night during X factor...

Flicking through my phone the other day I felt the same urge. So many numbers are of people who I no longer even remember, or worked with in 1999, or folk who are supposedly my mates, but who in reality never pick up the phone or at best send some well meaning text about getting together in some vague non defined time in the future. Why have I got all these meaningless numbers? To make myself feel as if I have stacks of mates just waiting to have a rip-roaring time with? In case I ever need them again for something? I understand that there are lots of friends who fulfill various roles in your life - friends you grew up with and who know you best (or the old version of you at least); friends who you loved working with and you mean to see more of but life gets in the way and slowly you don't have stuff in common any more once the work framework dissolves; friends who you became intensely close with at a certain period of your life and just as quickly the flame that burned the brightest went out; party friends; friends who through close geography became your day in and day out buddies; friends who you can ring sobbing and they will stop everything to be there for you; friends who know all sides of you and still love you; friends who served a purpose at the time but now are are more of a chore to see; friends you've lost touch with but know you could see again in two years and it would be as if no time had elapsed.

I remember reading that if you have 5 friends, 5 true honest, loyal, on your side for life buddies, that you were rich. I always stuck out my hands and swelled with pride as I counted many more than that. But the older I get, when life throws curve balls like losing my job, coping with loneliness, depression, isolation of motherhood and all the other stuff I vent about here on this blog, it has been an eye opener to see those who have reached out, offered support, a comment, a phonecall or even an email to say - I'm here. There are less fingers to count, that is for sure. But in my heart I know who they are. And actually, although I have never met lots of regular readers of my blog, their small messages of support from all sides of the globe have meant so much. Sometimes you get these little rays of kindness from the most unexpected quarters.

One of my resolutions this year was to devote more time to those that mattered and less time to those who didn't. It's time to get off facebook. De-junk my phone. Pick up the phone myself and make more effort with those I should. Try not to be so disappointed with my family and their lack of interest. I don't need 300 cyber mates, I don't need a phone stuffed with irrelevant numbers; I don't need to cling on to tired old friendships on their last gasp. I need to be grateful for those that I love and who reciprocate it, and that my friends, is all.


A said...

I couldn't agree more, the older we get, the more about quality and not quantity friendships become. I have a similar quandry and tried to explain it to someone last week, and they just didn't understand. Unfortunately, the person I was once close to, many years ago, is still in the wider circle of friends I see, so how do you explain that you just don't feel connected to them anymore? That friendship was in the past and best left there.
Good luck with the decluttering, and am really glad you're still writing on this blog, so I can keep up with how you're doing. x

Anonymous said...

You certainly speak the truth there. I remember a couple of years back feeling the pressure when I registered onto facebook. I thought that I needed to invite every Tom, Dick and Harry that I had ever met so that "people" (who exactly?) would think I was popular! So now I have these friends in cyberspace but never log on because I am either being poked or invited to complete some stupid quiz and I just want to say "lalalalalala - you are not my friends and I am not listening". Anyway, unfortunately real friends can only be identified in the face of adversity - and that is why we usually only find this out when we are slightly more mature. Thankyou for blog - I feel a bit like a voyeur by following it as I do know who you are and have surprised myself by understanding and liking you much more by reading this than I ever did previously. Take care and hope all goes well with the baby.

EDW said...


Do people still say that there? Did they ever? We are bringing it back, here on the East Coast of the States.

I have contemplated shutting down my blog and going off FB recently. But I'm not going to. FB just makes it easy for me...and I can ignore both that any my blog. But I FEEL you on the friends. I want to spring clean my whole life! Par it all down, and see what's left.

Hmm, how to do that...

Anonymous said...

Okay, now this shit is just getting fucking weird! Have been going through the same thing. Had to leave blogging, facebook and twitter behind. Especially when I realized that whenever something happened my first reaction was "I should tweet that" or "I should facebook that". Seriously, what the fuck is it all coming to. I just want to live, you know? This happened to me yesterday. The same damn day you wrote this blog. We are, like, soulmates, I swear to god.

(the girl who)

Chaos said...

I spend time and energy I don't have, doing things I don't enjoy, to impress people I don't like.

This blog entry has really hit home for me. Thanks!

All the best with your spring cleaning x

shortlass said...

I have so many thoughts I actually can't get them out fast enough...! I hear you loud and clear. It's becoming more apparent as I'm planning my wedding and trying to 'filter' friends for the guest list. The list may be long but how many can you actually rely on to pick up the phone when you're having a meltdown - how many of them would you want to phone in the first place!
Still, we'll all moan about it and hopefully one day we'll have the guts to let the culling commence!

Anonymous said...

I hear ya on this post! Not only do I do a spring cleaning with friends but also with Facebook. If I have a FB friend and we have not made any contact on FB in 6 months - I delete them! See ya! Sometimes they call me on it and I tell them "Hey don't take it personally but if there isn't any contact I purge.". Sometimes they ask to be a friend again and i will accept but at least they won't be surprised when I delete them again in 6 months time. As for the friendships...if I feel that if they no longer serve a positive purpose it is time to move on. Cut them loose. It does no good to drag along deadwood. De-clutter. I believe that some friendships run their course and then there is no need to continue. You have given everything you could to the friendship and when you notice that the friend is no longer putting in as much as you have for quite some time...that is your heads up to cut them loose. Don't get me wrong - it is still hard to say good-bye but once you do and some time has gone by to mourn your own attachment - it is nice to have that space in your life back. As we get older our lives get busier. As a result we do not have a lot of free time for ourselves let alone friends. So you need to be picky about who is worthy of your free time. Another thing about getting older - we have a better idea of what we want in our friendships...or even better, what we don't want in a friendship. Be true to yourself.

Nicole (1/8 of the Fab 8 & yes i will forever write that on here!)

PS. How cool is it that Monica wrote a comment - love her!