The undeniable importance of spending time with friends
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A couple of weeks ago, I went to this adorable local neighborhood restaurant, one I used to frequent when I lived only blocks away. One of our friends was playing a show (I got to a lot of concerts here in Athens, Georgia, where at least every other person is a musician), and it was such a delight to a, go to a show that started at 7:00 PM and not 11:00 PM (yes, that’s a realistic and somewhat early start time at a lot of the clubs where my friends play) and b, see how many neighbors and friends came out to support the band.

One person I saw there is a friend I adore but rarely spend time with. In fact, running a bookshop, dealing with migraine, and spending most of my free time with my husband or my family makes it seem extra hard for me to actually spend time with my beloved girlfriends. E. and I gave each other a huge hug and decided then and there that we needed to actually find a time to get together.  Not just say, “We should get together!” and never call, but to actually make a plan.

She texted me a few days ago and we made a plan to sit on her lovely back porch and catch up. Bonus: she just rescued a feral kitten, so I got to hang out with a kitten as well.

Any time I hang out with a good friend of mine I feel so nourished and happy afterward. Connecting with friends is incredibly important for health, just as important as regular exercise or a healthy diet—yet I don’t end up doing it nearly often enough.  It feels like I am always saying, “I’m so busy!” or “I have no time!” but I’m not so sure that’s the truth sometimes.

Yes, it’s undeniable that running my own business takes a ton of energy. When I do a shift at the shop, I’m talking to people for hours—I’m always “on,” and I absolutely love it. But when the workday comes to a close, it’s hard to want to socialize more with friends because I have just done that for hours and hours and I feel depleted. Work the fact of my health issues in—including migraine attacks that pop up seemingly out of nowhere and cause me to cancel plans left and right, if I’ve felt bold to make plans in the first place—and you have someone who doesn’t socialize even a quarter as much of the time as she used to.

Happily, I was feeling really healthy and happy yesterday, so my time with E. was especially nice. We only spent a little over an hour together, but we talked about so much and were reminded of how important our friendship was.

This happens whenever I spend time with my friends. When I visited J. in Colorado a few months ago, I was thrilled with how we had blocks of time when we could just laugh and talk and spend time together. When I N. and I skip a few weeks of our walks and then reconnect and hug hello, we both tend to say something like, “Why aren’t we doing this all the time? I love you!” I could list friend after friend whom I feel close to and feel so happy to be around.

This brings me to a resolution: I am going to make a point to make sure I see my friends more often. I am going to make drives to Atlanta to see my friends that live there, and I am going to make the time to spend evenings or afternoons with Athens friends when I feel up to it. I’m going to make sure I check in with my sister and my parents often, as well, and when I’m at home with my husband, I’m going to put my dang phone down and just be with him.

Migraine and daily working hours may dominate my life from time to time, but I can make the choice to spend my better days and hours in ways that enrich my soul.

How has connecting with loved ones (when you’re up for it) enhanced your life? Do you find you cope with migraines better when you have been able to spend time with friends? 

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