Let me tell you about 50. Unlike, say, 20 years ago, I can almost take constructive criticism like an adult. So when my friend wrote me this evening to tell me he thinks I’m holding back in my “Unfettered 50” blog posts, I got filled up with tears but I also went and scrutinized them a bit. On a few I think he’s crazy, but on others he had a point.
But something more was in play. I was only a wee bit defensive. More like feeling grateful I have chosen to surround myself with smart, honest people. This friend once told me something I’d written hadn’t an ounce of vulnerability. Yep, he’s good. So why was I biting my lip to hold back the water fall?
Duh. Because he was right. I was holding something back.
I un-Friended someone I love on Facebook this week. To paraphrase a line from the Sex and the City movie, I love him but I love me more. I invested a lot of time and emotional energy in him, hoping for romance at one point but agreeing to friendship when that seemed my only choice. The connection was that good. The friendship has been strong but challenging.
Finally this week, though, the price to be friends with him became too high. His Facebook posts are a reminder of what isn’t. My Facebook feed is a place I go to relax with the terrific community I’ve built and I want to keep it that way. I can no longer be “big” about it at my own peril.
So with a click of my mouse I was free. That’s how it felt when I un-Friended him. Incredibly liberating. Mature and weirdly “junior high” at the same time. Take your shot at happiness, my friend, while I take a deep breath into mine.
The next day I woke up and while I was preparing breakfast I looked at the photo he’d taken in Ireland that I’d blown up and had framed for my wall. I wrote about it in another blog post but didn’t fully explain the weight behind taking it down. When he was here a month ago I saw him glance into the kitchen to see if it was still there. It meant something to him that it was.
I have no bitterness around any of this. As I wrapped the picture in plastic and put it away, I remembered telling him I liked “life through his lens.” He loved that because he’s a man who appreciates words. It felt soothing to think of the memory.
After breakfast and a workout, I was walking by Carlo’s Bakery (yes, home of Cake Boss) and, lo and behold, there was no line. I walked in and bought two chocolate-covered strawberries, my absolute favorite treat there. It had been over a year since indulging in them because this now nationally acclaimed hotspot is always mobbed.
From there I visited a shop where I could buy some flowers and walked out with two bouquets — Gerbera daisies and tulips. As I walked through my home gazing at the fresh flowers, eating a strawberry, it felt like the Universe had given me my own special Valentine’s Day filled with nurturing self-love.
Now I feel raw and euphoric and more like me than I’ve felt in a long, long time.
And I take criticism pretty well, too.