It’s been a really long week for a variety of reasons so I decided to make the best of my one day weekend. One thing that I really enjoy is music because it’s a universal language. There’s rarely any significant period of time that goes by without me turning on a song or playing an album by an artist I enjoy. I haven’t gone to a concert in a while because I’ve been either traveling or working but when I saw a flyer advertising the concert of an artist who I enjoy listening to, I bought a ticket on a whim. While I really wanted to stay at my house and sleep, it’s a goal of mine to get out more and be more social. Plus, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to go somewhere that didn’t require me to use my professional skills in some capacity. Despite the fact that I bought a ticket, I almost decided against going last minute because of all the extra effort. But I went and I’m glad I did. The concert featured soul music and many of the songs performed were remade versions of some great hits from decades past. Avery Sunshine was among one of the artists that performed and she was absolutely amazing as she sang and engaged the audience to sing her background vocals on one of the songs. There was great energy and I enjoyed sitting back and taking it all in. I have a lot of respect for artists who can hold a space without losing the audience and still be their authentic selves. Everyone enjoyed themselves and the concert finished around midnight or so. It reminded me of how therapeutic music can be. Maybe the focus this year will be on exploring where I live instead of traveling quite as much.
Back in May of this year I took a weekend trip to Dallas and was introduced to this book by some friends. I’ve always been wary of self help books, but this one was different. Lately I’ve been running into a lot of people who just seem stuck. They work, go home and repeat for years without really doing anything different. They always talk about places they want to travel to but they know they’ll never go. Their lives consist of the mundane without any plans to change their routine. I am deathly afraid of becoming one of those people. This book was honestly one of the top three books I read this year. It focuses specifically on becoming the best you that you can be by making use of your unique talents and gifts. Jakes uses great examples and simple language to encourage the reader to take inventory of his or her passions and then use them to make a difference in the world. The biggest challenge in doing this is that it requires you to get out of your comfort zone and leave the familiar. You’re exchanging security for freedom. But the end result to doing this is fulfillment and the opportunity to actually leave a legacy that you’re proud of.
Many of us are familiar with the lyrics to this popular song. Along with a catchy hook, the song embodies a sentiment that many people would agree with. The artist in this song repeats the three words “no new friends” over and over again. Great friendships aren’t made overnight. Have you ever met someone and within a matter of minutes they have already decided that they are your best friend? One of the most annoying experiences ever. I think that the best friendships and relationships have stood the test of time. They involve people who you have known forever–or you’ve gone through so many experiences together that it feel like forever. Many people have a “core” group of friends who they keep up with. One thing that I have learned is that many times people who have a “no new friends” mentality actually make the best friends. This is because they tend to be fiercely loyal because they don’t have many reasons not to be. People who have had good friends for long periods of time tend to be more comfortable with themselves and also more likely to refuse to be drawn into superficial and surface relationships. At least in my opinion. There’s more genuineness and authenticity when someone isn’t looking for a friend for the sheer reason that they feel they need one. Friendships have to develop and grow and sometimes people don’t want to be bothered with the process of meeting someone and building a relationship with them. In my opinion, I don’t think that having a lot of friends is necessary because quality is more important than quantity. It’s easier to be yourself and comfortable with people who know you well and who you have known for years. Having a “no new friends” mentality is somewhat of a luxury because it implies that you actually have old friends and are still close to them. Getting out of your comfort zone and doing something different often means that you have to let go of a “no new friends” mentality and just meet and get to know new people. Not the “funnest” thing ever, but definitely necessary. However, now having any new friends actually works for some people. They’re comfortable that way and they don’t want to change. I don’t blame them. If something isn’t broken, there is no reason to fix it. At least most of the time.