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Friends A Precious Gift

by Paula Marie

Your Journey to a Balanced Life: Friendships.

Friendship

Friends are Family that we choose for ourselves ~ Edna Buchanan

This quote from Edna Buchanan is one of my favorites. How true it is! As we age, our circle of friends may be smaller but no less important. There is a wonderful feeling that comes with connecting with another person on a deeper level. A true friend. Someone who knows and accepts the real you, flaws and all.  

The Science of Friendships

Having friends doesn’t just sound nice; it’s been scientifically proven that social interactions and friendships, even as adults, have positive mental and physical benefits. Healthy friendships have been linked with higher self-esteem, improved cognitive abilities and physical health, and even the number of years you have to enjoy this life of yours. In the report Social Relationships and Mortality Risk: A Meta-analytic Review showed a correlation between social connections and lifespan. Fostering and nurturing your friendships not only improves your mental and physical health, it can extend your life.

Confessions of a Workaholic

Growing up, I spent all my free time with my best friend; we were inseparable. We met when we were 13; you know that awkward in-between phase when you’re not quite a child and not quite a teenager. It’s a simpler time when your biggest responsibility is homework, and the most pressing issue is what outfit to wear that day. But hormones and puberty are throwing you curveballs, and you don’t appreciate this simplicity. Ah, to be young again, how time flies.

Years later, I still consider her my best friend. Our bond has strengthened, and we affectionately refer to each other as soul sisters. The two of us have shared joy, pain, divorce, illness, weddings, the birth of my daughter, breakups, and new love interests. We’ve been through it all together. We have decades of history and unwavering loyalty to each other. Until workaholism.
When workaholism sunk its nasty claws into me, work consumed my entire life. Workaholics know the insatiable appetite this condition has. It gobbles up anything beyond work, leaving you with no work life balance. 

I disappeared into my work. I stopped calling and was terrible at returning texts, emails, and any other attempts she made at reaching out. When I finally would get around to responding, my communications had no depth a quick ‘sorry, I’m busy’, or a promise to get back asap—a promise we both knew I’d break. She’d make plans, and I’d either decline, cancel, or worse, not show. On the rare occasion I did, I wasn’t present. I was failing to provide those things that makes a good friend good. I didn’t listen, support her, laugh with her. I was on my phone, physically there, but mentally still at work. 

This was my life in the lost years—the years I lost to workaholism. I had an unhealthy addiction to work. My work life balance was way out of whack.

Miraculously my friend didn’t give up on me. I have since implemented my Friend’s Tool Box, and now we talk on the phone once a week and get together at least once a month for at least two hours. This is time I have built into my schedule; it’s a commitment I look forward to!

 My friend has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. She is doing ok now, but who knows what the future holds. The truth is none of us know what the future holds; the only thing we know for sure is we have this moment right now.

I regret the time I lost with my friend during my lost years. I’m just grateful I was able to turn things around before it’s too late.

Imagine if you couldn’t see your best friend or hear their voice ever again. It so often takes something big to put things in perspective, such as a major health scare or diagnosis. But why wait? Treasure the times you’ve had with your friends, and take the time to create new memories, right now while you still can.

In my book Kick Ass And Have A Life, I share the system I created to kick my workaholic addiction to the curb, and allow time for the key pillars of a healthy, balanced life including friendship.

It worked for me, and it can work for you too!

I share this story to help save you the regret of lost time before it’s too late. You absolutely can have a successful career and time for all the precious things that will give you a more fulfilling life, like friends. I speak from experience.

If you are ready to make a meaningful change in your life and discover how you really can have it all, subscribe to my mailing list.

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Stay Tuned,

Paula Marie