It takes me a day to process some things. Usually, they end up with pretty simple solutions and me a little irritated at myself for being overly dramatic. I come by it honestly. I was a super-sensitive kid with undiagnosed dyslexia and The Fear. The Fear must be capitalized because that’s how I referred to it until my early thirties when I realized it was a combination of depression and anxiety. Thank God for doctors who are willing to listen and prescribe medication. Anyway, all those years dealing with The Fear altered how I deal with life even now that I’m properly medicated. We can’t always change our initial reactions, but we can learn to manage them. And I do try to manage my issues.

Bad days or emotionally draining ones can be really hard. Sometimes all my friends are too busy to listen or to hold my hand or to let me vent; I get it, they have lives, families, and obligations. Last night, though, one of my best friends invited me over for dinner (I skipped my Monday night class, because I knew I would bring nothing positive until I dealt with my frustrations and properly identified myself as the largest part of the problem). I am blessed to have some friends who will listen if that’s what I need or help if that’s what I need. They’ve known me for long enough that they get how I process things. I’ve been friends with them long enough to return those favors.

I read a book a few years ago that offhandedly mentioned that friendship as we know it is a relatively new phenomenon. The ancient world had patronage and our world has it too. The very wealthy can sometimes only trust the people they pay and it must be sticky at times to be a good friend to the person who writes your paycheck, but what an honor too to be one of the trusted few with whom someone can just be themselves. Trust is vital to friendships, however it’s secured. Some friendships do start out as patronage; others start out as exchanges of favors or secrets. While we have to trust people to develop friendships, we should also trust ourselves about who to avoid and who to embrace.

I’ve learned the importance of trusting my intuition a few times. It’s made a little more difficult by the habits in thinking and behavior that stem from The Fear, but I can’t let The Fear always be an excuse. As an actual grown-up, I alone am responsible for how I handle things and that means I screw up. It also means I have a lot of learning opportunities. I known that I’ll fail at things. I know that I’ll drop some balls. I known that I still have a lifetime’s worth of apologies ahead of me. I also know that I can find a way to do better, to be better; a willingness to fail paired with the sense of personal responsibility are so hugely important to the art of adulting.

And sometimes, we just need to take a day or a week or a month to sort through our emotions and their causes.

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