Confession time: I may watch too much Law & Order. This occurred to me recently when I was driving to a local park to do a short, easy trail run and was overcome with a need to let someone know my run plan and location. And so I texted my friend Hitch because (a) he would come looking for me should anything go awry and (b) he wouldn’t be thinking of ways to send me to looney bin or mercilessly mock me. Of course my run went fine. The only other people on the path were septuagenarians bundled up to go bird watching. “You’ve got to watch out for the old folks,” Hitch said to me when I reported my safe return. I laughed. Actually, he was right. I realized that this morning at the pool when an 80-year-old guy pushed me aside when I tried to pass him in the circle swim lane.
But I digress.
The important part of the story was the text message exchange with Hitch and the gratitude I feel for my support team. Some of them I pester on a daily or near basis. With others, we can go months without talking but pick right up where we left off, comfortable with our friendship and with the care and respect we have for each other. Still others are members of my virtual support team — people I’ve met through the magic of social media and who answer my questions, give advice and share in my triumphs.
Over the last few years, I’ve taken care to really think about the people I let on my support team. Life is too short to waste with stupid people. Life is too precious to spend with people who drag you down, who constantly go to the negative, who make you feel “less than,” or who otherwise reinforce everything you no longer want to be. But it’s not about cutting people out of my life. No, that’s just playing into my own dramatic soap opera. Those who don’t support me, those who don’t mesh with my goals and dreams, they’ll gently fade away from my daily dealings. My support team isn’t filled with people just like me. No. They challenge me. They call me on my bullshit. When I mess up there’s no gloating or a rounds of “told you so.” There is only more hope and encouragement.
It has taken me years to understand exactly what I need from my support team. Members come and go, but the constant remains — I choose to surround myself with people who help me embrace my life.