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Somewhere in the Middle

Usually talk is about people leaving or who used to be around. Have you ever had people return, even temporarily? I definitely have. Lately, it seems like a particular group is resurfacing, as opposed to a specific person. I met the people through a group called “Full Circle.” At the time, Full Circle hosted an event called “Coping with Divorce.” The event was designed to help people going through the loss of a long term relationship. Usually, that meant divorce. It could also be death of a partner or a break-up without having been married.

Not only is it interesting that I have been running into “Full Circle” friends, I also have friends who have or are ending long term relationships. Their actions and reactions have made me reflective on my personal experience.

One of the best things about seeing Full Circle friends is that there is almost always a hug. For the ones who really have been friends and not just people who may have been at a common activity, that hug is something I have missed. In fact, I saw several of these friends at Art Hop last Friday. Art Hop is a monthly event that I don’t tend to go to as much cause I would rather go with friends. Sometimes, though, like the June event, there’s something special. In this case, I wanted to hear a band. As I walked Downtown to take care of an errand at the beginning of Art Hop, I passed someone I knew and circled back after the errand and I am sooo glad I did! Later, I followed the band to where they played next, and ran into more friends from the same Full Circle group.

Reflection #1

The highlight was seeing the couple waiting for the band. They have been a couple for as long as I’ve known them, which is nearly 10 years. The thing about long term relationships ending is that it makes it tough to feel confident about marriage, even if you’re ok with the relationship part. This couple decided to take that chance after being together for 11 years. I’ve seen that with others, too. Another couple who had been together the whole time I’d known them are now married. Someone else who went through divorce the same time I did (nearly 10 years ago) and began to date immediately, also wed this year. I don’t know details on that one since information came from Facebook postings only.

Reflection #2

The trend seems to be immediate dating or at least “hook-ups,” or leaning on a friend who becomes “more.” For dating, it may not be called that, either. It’s a chance to meet people in person or (usually) online, still with that same end goal. I’ve seen it before and I see it now, over and over and over again. From what I have observed, if either party is still hung up on any past relationship(s), then there are probably more hook-ups or short term relationships than anything. Kind of like the long term “maybe marriage” some day, there isn’t a lot of trust or confidence, even when totally into the partner.

Reflection #3

What I’ve realized from all of this is that how I talk about my marriage or ex-husband has changed. It’s more like facts – where we lived or what we did. It used to be more emotional and now it is just something that happened during a particular set of years. I am more focused and interested on who and what is happening now versus 10 to 20 years ago.

Overall, although I did (and do) like meeting people and making friends, I haven’t felt the need to go on dating sites or “hook-up” just because. However, I do miss friends and having closer ones to “lean on.” Maybe when someone else realizes the same thing and we’re within the same circle of people, I’ll have a new story to talk about. That seems to put me somewhere in the middle – I’m not actively looking for partners and when I do come across those who I view as potentials, I’m not against the idea.

What are your thoughts?


Random Sightings

img_20160506_225635.jpgIt’s funny cause I actually thought about the topic for this post around a month ago. I know the time frame because it happened to be following April’s Art Hop in Kalamazoo, and the event is typically the first Friday of the month. If you haven’t guessed or realized it already, tonight was May’s Art Hop. In Kalamazoo, it is typical that the nicer the weather, the more activity there is downtown on Art Hop night, and tonight was an exceptionally nice night. What I have always loved about Art Hop is how many people I tend to run into who I haven’t seen in a while, and this night was extra special.

Similar to last month, though, random sightings of friends first occurred outside of Art Hop. This afternoon, I was utilizing my coffee shop office and towards the end of my office hours one of my former classmates showed up. It was actually the second time I had seen him there recently, and it turned out that his daughter works at that coffee shop, so it will probably happen again at least as long as she is an employee. They had a great conversation about Star Trek, noting that the 50th anniversary and a movie is coming out, and, at least locally, it might be “Star Trek Day.” The argument was that if Star Wars could have a day then Star Trek should, too. The discussion revolved around drinks that Star Trek characters (any series) tended to like. All I could remember was “Earl Grey – hot.” Do you know any?

Although I didn’t get a picture at the coffee shop today, I regularly use it for an office. A few weeks ago another friend showed up there who I hadn’t seen in a while, and we both worked up at the counter area, chatting in-between. Just cause, I asked to take a picture, which is in the collage on the top right.

I left the coffee shop and stopped at home to drop off my bicycle and lighten and switch my backpack. I knew I didn’t want to go beyond the mall and I had a few intentional destinations. First up, I had promised to visit a kid and his family trying to raise money so they could travel for his dance competitions. Last month they were trying to get to Disney World, which didn’t work so that particular competition is out, for now.

Before I even made it up the stairs, I saw one of my friends and his girlfriend. We used to both be a part of a group that would walk around together and he would lead through regular stops and anything extra worthy or different. Tonight, I reminded him of a couple of places based on where I wanted to go, and the group seemed to be around and scattered (I never saw anyone else).

Next, I finally made it up the stairs, and then I saw a couple who I happened to see last month on the same floor, and they are in the collage above. We had a nice chat after hugging (my favorite) in greeting. When we were done, I walked down the hall and talked to the family raising funds for the dance competition. Yay!

My other main destination was a jewelry store a couple of blocks down because one of my friends was going to be there. As I was walking down the street, before I even crossed the next corner, I saw my “dad” singing and playing guitar. Unlike most of my pseudo dads who are referred to with that title because I am friends with one of their children, I became “adopted” after someone thought that we looked alike enough to be related. “Dad” says I look like his daughter. Even better, on the return trip towards home, his wife was there, so we had a family reunion. I took the picture the earlier time, though.

After seeing my dad, I finally made it to the jewelry store and could see my friend there. She was excited! Art hop was hopping, so I didn’t stay in there too long. It was great to visit, though, and she definitely appreciated that I made it a point to stop in.

From the jewelry store, I made my way back towards home, with plans to stop at a couple more places, and to visit my dad again. For a little bit I was walking behind a couple I knew, and when one of them looked my way as they were heading into a store, I waved “hello” and continued on. As I approached one of the corners, I saw my friend from the beginning, and he pointed to who he was talking to. It was an “OMG” moment, for the mutual friend had not been out and about in a while because he had been recovering from being ill. Wow! The two of us, and a friend with him, walked together to the next couple of stops and I made sure to get a picture. It is the one in the collage on the far left at the top.

As I continued walking towards home, I ended up behind a couple on bicycles. With the crowd of people, none of us could go fast. The guy did a double-take, “Stacy?” Yes, someone else who I knew and hadn’t chatted with in a really long time. He was to my right, and while we were saying quick “hellos,” I heard “Hi, Stacy,” and had to turn to my left. Another friend to say “hi” to and hug. Wow, again. I turned back towards the couple to finish the thoughts there, and the other friend was gone when I turned back. I continued walking after that, and finally made it home.

Art hop, coffee shop, or anywhere around town – I love when I get to see my friends. How about you?



Energy Buzz

Some people, to get the energy (or at least the courage) to do things, need something like caffeine or alcohol. I just need the right people around me, strangers or friends, either doing an activity I really enjoy or hanging out and chatting. For example, the first time I remember really thinking about this, was when I attended the general membership meetings of the Kalamazoo Jaycees. During the half hour or so before the meeting began was the social time. You could walk into the room and feel the buzz of energy because of ALL the conversations, and then add to it by finding one to join or start. Then, following the meeting, the buzz would continue with more discussions, and, at the time that I had attended, going downstairs to a restaurant and accompanying people or eating dinner. I could be awake for quite awhile after that. Pictured are some of my friends I met through the organization who were recently at my birthday dinner celebration, or attended the Zombie Festival with me.

This brings me to the next point: having a good event or activity. The Zombie Festival is one example, since I was not only with friends, we were among nearly 4000 other zombies! That is amazing, and energy in itself. It was also exciting to be a part of the attempt to break a world’s record. Nope, it wasn’t broken this year.

Another point that goes with both of these is that being involved with the Kalamazoo Jaycees has extended my family. One branch in particular could not make it to the birthday dinner celebration, and instead invited me the night before to their house for dinner. They even had a cake with candles, and, whether or not I needed it, I had help blowing out the candles from my 4-year-old friend. Yay!

You may have read in Happy Birthday Gratitude that I was going to celebrate my birthday throughout the week before and after the actual day. One of my friends let (her friend) the lead singer of the band know that I was one of the birthdays that night and she asked everyone to sing to the three of us celebrating. There’s nothing like 100 of your closest friends singing “Happy birthday” while you are at the center of attention.

Later that night, one of my friends bought a group of us a round of birthday shots, which is also pictured, and was really special, too. Another extension of my family.

I also love it when I see my friends on purpose, as I did during my birthday week. I knew he was bowling and went to the bowling alley before going out to the next place..

The next event where I was with friends and then was able to see more unexpectedly, was Art Hop. This is another event that creates an energy buzz while walking around downtown or in the different businesses. Some are art studios and others showcase an artist’s work. Where I feel that energy the most, though, is at the Park Trades Center. The entire building is full of studios and stores, and the more that are open, the more exciting it is. November’s Art Hop is a good time for the Park Trades Center.

Similar to the general membership meetings mentioned above, the current group where I feel like that is the Chili Pepper Songwriting Club. As stated in Storytelling in a Song, the fact that I am among writers and it is mixed with music, makes me feel at home. Even more so, during the short time that I have been attending I have made many friends and it feels like we have known each other for years. They understand that being a writer means what is stirring in your head has to be written down. It doesn’t matter that I am not a song writer. The commonality and appreciation have, again, extended my family. We could all talk for hours on the subject of what and how we write and I love the energy from all of it.

Although I like to sing, I don’t claim to be a good singer, which has made karaoke fun. When the crowd, the song, and the friends are good, it is a release as much as it is an energy buzz. We feed off each other, making it great for everyone. That can even include the friends who support and do not participate in the karaoke. Without a receptive audience, that energy is not there, at least for me.

And last, but definitely not least, sometimes all it takes for that energy is who I am around without doing anything in particular. I don’t know why that happens and love when it does. Most of the time that means in person. It can also be conversations through messaging where it is all text based (not email, though). I look for those, especially when I want to stay awake, such as a break from homework. Other times, it happens naturally, and I could be awake for hours afterwards. I am not sure if it effects anyone else this way, either.

Where do you find your energy?

Thanks for reading!