Over omelets and hash browns this morning, N. Z. and I found long overdue time to catch-up. Three hours flew by as one spoke and the other listened. Since my departure from my hometown a few years ago, I make every attempt to connect with old and new friends alike. I love these 1:1’s (one-on-ones). Recently other girl talks with T.K., P.M. and J.B. provided unlimited time to wallow in one another’s world sharing passions, professions, pasts and futures traveling well beyond 140 characters, stretching our hearts in and through the other's life.
When we consider our life stories, how often do we include the companions of our journey, those who have traveled with us through highways and back roads. Traditionally, we weave into our personal narratives our spouses, children, and sometimes relatives and of course, ancestors. Mine certainly will. But in my future memoir, stories of the characters, meant in a most loving way, will play prominent roles. Don’t worry, I’ll be kind.
Over the years, we laughed at our own idiosyncrasies, provided just the right advice at just the right time, shared shoulders, meals, wine and adventures, injuries, along with weight and love, both found and lost.
The academic in me wanted to know why others stories carry so much significance in our lives. Daniel Taylor in The Healing Power of Storytelling offers valuable insight. He tells us that:
We are born into stories, like a river, they move us and guide us through life.
Stories are omnipresent. We live in stories the way fish live in water, breathing them in and out, buoyed up by them.
Stories make it possible for us to be human.
Those long term lifers with whom we've created multilayered fairytales and memorable yarns. My 50 year old friendship with K.M. began when I was in high school and he was a handsome college student and to this day we bring two worlds together playing out our virtual ‘friend affair’, while our hair grows thinner and our hips wider. Or J.T., a forever closest friend who travels with me through my creative bursts and I through his ever-evolving family. He now nears retirement and I begin my Act V, well beyond Act III. Or M.W. who knew me as a child and continues to convey perspective and wisdom, and M.P. who stood by my side through years of single parenthood.
Other actors will certainly include the loves of my life, for I fell often; professional friends and performing communities; those who touched my spirit through their age; old roommates, childhood/teen BFFE's, and without a doubt, canine companions who taught me of love that is unconditional.
Whether in my personal history work or cherished friendships, I’m in an enviable position. Through each, I travel through time and space. My work takes me back through decades and across oceans. I relearn history that I may never have learned, have conveniently forgotten, or it wasn’t on the test. I relearn geography, traveling to places, thanks to technology, that I never knew existed. While friends share their latest bucket list trip, I share my time traveling escapades.
Our present social media mentality encourages us to grow our friend’s list. I take the minimalistic approach, spending time, time traveling with trusting friends, those I have shared past-chapters with, confidants whose layers of life overlap with my own.
Today I want to remember those who made me who I am, because as an African friend once reminded me, "I Am Who I Am, Because of Who You Are." It took an army, a lifetime, and I’m not done yet.
Let us know how we can help you time travel by capturing the stories that surround you.