Saturday, January 31, 2009

Equal Social Partnership

You know that person. That friend that ALWAYS makes you come over to their house to hang out but will not dare to step outside for fear of leaving their apartment. You have gone over there the last 4 weekends in a row and even better they ask you to pick up the beverages- oh! and while you're at it, can you bring that amazing movie they've never seen? The term I have for these people is "One-way" in "She is a such a one-way". These are also those people you know who make you wait by your cell phone until they decide they won't be lazy and will actually meet you or follow through on the plans that you made together. If you've ever had the experience of getting a text 30 minutes before you are supposed to meet and they ask if you can postpone it a few hours because they just got up and then a few hours later when you are supposed to meet, they text you asking if you can reschedule. Therefore, wasting your entire day and making it impossible for you to make plans with anyone else. If you understand this then you will probably agree with me when I say:

Marriages are not the only equal partnerships. Roommates, buddies, bros, girlfriends, and friends with benefits all have expected obligations. Whether or not you are tired or its just SO cold outside, I believe that reciprocation is essential. You may not feel like going deep into Brooklyn at 1:30am when the train is messed up but if you said you would stop by and they did ask you several weeks prior, I feel like you should go -especially if last week they took the same journey to your neck of the woods. Moreover, when you are meeting a friend for lunch, why is it fair that you venture closer to where they are as opposed to meeting somewhere in the middle? Now granted, you may want to try a spectacularly Zagat rated restaurant which is just closer to them or there are extenuating circumstances and other obligations that make it necessary for them to stay in their area. But my point is that this should not be a reoccurring phenomenon. Even if one of your neighborhoods is slightly dull and yours is trendy, if you are going to just chill- it shouldn't matter. One more item is that switching off payment for beverages or splitting the cost of whatever you're doing is essential. That's part of being a good friend.

But what do you say to the person that doesn't realize what they're doing? How can you express your frustration that you bend over backwards and you would like some reciprocation, without a guilt trip or causing tension? It could possibly be as simple as saying "Hey, I've come over your place very often- can you come over here this time?". This is easier said than done but at least you are expressing some of your frustration.

Mission 17:
1) If you read this and feel like you are a "one-way", try calling some friends whom you realize you've done this to and make it up to them. The next few chill sessions are perfect opportunities for revitalizing your image. Also, acknowledge what you've done and apologize.

2) Call the "one-way" out. You need to stand up for yourself and your wallet. Transportation, drinks, food, movies all add up- financially and the frustration builds up inside. These aren't terrible people. They just may not realize. This is a good reality check for them to know you've actually been amazing.

3) What are some times you've been a "one-way" or experienced what it felt to have a friend as one? Post your experiences or the results of the mission on BreTSa and share. Maybe your approach will help someone else.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Your Home Delivered.

Coming home is an odd feeling. For many people, it means a reunion with their comfy couch, their warm bed, the television, and no bellboys to tip. But what is "home" exactly?

On the plane from my trip to Germany, I knew I was 'home' when I saw the march of blurry yellow blocks on the road. These cheesy buses carried children after a day of school at 3:30PM. These children were going back to a house with their family and would probably say that home was where they sleep, their parents make dinner, their dog Buttons greets them at the door. But what was home for me? My heart leaped into my lap when I realized we were flying over the city. It was this place that I felt I belonged to and it to me.

Home to me has never meant one specific place. Throughout my childhood I moved from one apartment to the next- perhaps once every year and sometimes more than three times in a six-month period after my parent's divorce. They say that moving is one of the three most stressful events someone can experience- is this due to the physical location or the mental reallocation of what "home" is that does it to us?

After a few years of college, I've moved from a dormitory to renting out a room to what is now my cozy apartment. But really, I've learned, it is what my apartment contains. Outfitted with Ikea furniture, my roommate, my laptop, pictures and other remnants of memories, it leads me to believe that home is not the physical place where you sleep. For years, I felt at home at my summer camp- a place that kept me secure and healthy despite all the trouble in my world outside of it. But besides the beautiful lake, it was and still is the people that brought me back.

Is home the feeling of warmth, of memories, the feeling of accomplishment after knitting a sweater, finishing a novel, that first tear from a sad but moving film, or perhaps that moment where your heart stops in a lover's arms because all you feel is tingly numbness? Are our homes ever-changing as we grow older appreciating that we find comfort in many different places? They (whoever "they" are) say that home is where the heart is and I'm beginning to really understand what that means. The line between residence, the place where we lay our heads to rest and the true feelings of where we long to be can be completely opposite. I can only hope that one day I can rest my head where I have longed to be for so long and finally feel that I am truly "home"

Mission 16:
1) Answer this: Where do you feel most at home? Think of where you long to be and where warmth surrounds you? Are you there? How can you get there?

2) Take it further and have fun: Draw, paint, or map out the answer to these questions.

3) Post it here and compare with fellow BreTSA followers.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Following Through

I haven't written in about two months. It is hard to believe that I haven't followed through on my promise to provide content at least once a week. At first, I believed it to be just a lack of time due to finals and classwork building up, which is true, but it became something more- I just got lazy. Therefore, I apologize to the followers of BreTSA. I need to own up to my procrastination and push myself in the future to follow through on commitments whether they are large or small. Holding ourselves accountable is something that I think people look at closely. No matter if we do screw up socially or professionally- it is the decision to take responsibility that secures our integrity.

In doing this, it makes me wonder why we cease to continue things we love or fail to complete projects that we get so psyched up about starting. I remember starting to paint and did it for a while but failed to really do one each week or so. I enjoy these hobbies and yet still managed to screw it up. How are we supposed to accomplish great things in life that take hard work and contain aspects we dread, when we can't even follow through on things that make us happy?

That said, I pledge that I will start frequent postings again. I've actually got several exciting topics lined up- two months gives you some material, I think.

When I was in Europe recently, I had a conversation with a mother who felt like her grown children didn't need her anymore and that she was moving into a new phase of her life. Our conversation was part of a larger process that I suspect she is still going through. As retirement nears, she can start thinking about what actually makes her happy besides serving her children.Listening to radio dramas, knitting, reading books or traveling- these hobbies have taken different paths and some have been abandoned. You could say that this is her time to pick up these activities that gave her joy, but it won't necessarily be true now- interests and people change. When she was younger, she longed to travel the world- but now she just wants to enjoy life where she is.

Who knows when I will stop writing on this blog? I certainly don't. And I don't expect to keep writing forever. All I know is that it gives me an outlet and I enjoy it now so I want to continue with it (especially with the pressure of some great friends to do so). However, I know that when the time comes, I know it was worth doing-at least for now.

Mission 15:
1)Make a list of tasks or hobbies you have abandoned- and finish/continue at least three of them! You can start making an effort if they do take a while, but at least get back up on the horse.
2) Or research something new and focus on that. You may just love it.

***Also, if you are reading this blog, it would be nice for you to comment/post- I want to hear about any mission you've completed or your thoughts. The purpose of this blog is to connect people through experience. Nothing is too trivial.