Steve and I had a lot of discussions about happiness before our move to Colorado. He was concerned about me leaving my family, my business, and my friends. I had put down deep roots in Little Rock, the place I had called home since I was 8 years old. Because of my involvement in the martial arts and the self-defense classes I taught, it was unusual for me not to run into someone I knew whenever we went out.
Neither of us knew a soul when we made the move to Penrose in August of 2010. I have to say there was something exhilarating about that for me. It was good to be anonymous, it was good not to be “Ms. Ray”.
During those introspective times before we left Little Rock, I realized that most, if not all, of the people I called friends were in my life because of Little Rock Martial Arts. I’m cynical enough to know that some of those friendships were based on my position as instructor.
We went back to Little Rock several months ago. We got together with some of my Taekwondo buddies one night, and it was really great to see them. After catching up on life events for the last year, we hugged and went our separate ways.
I find that I have absolutely no interest in what is happening at my old school. When I handed over the keys to the new owner, I closed that door and locked it tight. I will never regret the opportunity I had to be involved in so many lives and the friendships I made. But that chapter of my life is over.
Facebook is great. During the first months in Colorado, keeping up with friends on Facebook saved my life. It was tough, I have to admit, not having anyone at all to socialize with here. But then I met Lisa who lives across the street and I now go riding with. Then there is Marie, my yoga instructor. We had coffee several times a week before she moved to Florida to live at an Ashram. But Marie introduced me to Paula, who is now my BFF. We talk on the phone several times a week, go shopping together, and will be making a trip to Napa for her birthday. Paula introduced me to Susan, my massage/physical therapist and horsewoman extraordinaire. There are several people in my yoga and Kenpo classes that I think are good possibilities for friendship.
One day Steve and I were having lunch in Colorado Springs. He was totally ignoring me while he typed away on phone. He was having a discussion about photography with my old boyfriend Dennis, who is my friend on Facebook. I had not seen Dennis in 30 years or so, but we reconnected through Facebook right before I left Little Rock. I suggested they “friend” each other so that they did not have to keep having conversations in my posts. That they did, and now they have great conversations about a myriad of subjects. We had lunch with Dennis when we were in Little Rock so he and Steve could meet. We are hoping that one of these days Dennis and his wife Debbie will be able to make it out here.
I don’t feel a responsibility to “be nice” because of my position as a school owner. If someone rubs me the wrong way, I don’t have to socialize with them. It’s a new thing for me, choosing my friends like this.
Several friends from Little Rock have been to visit. Carla and Heidi have each been here several times. The last trip they stayed with us they met each other for the first time. Now they are good friends and hang out together in Little Rock. I feel like a successful matchmaker!
Theresa used to work with me in the surety business. We reconnected through Facebook. I hadn’t seen her for 12 or 13 years, but she and Greg stayed with us at Thanksgiving. Nothing at all in common now except our past work history, but we are still friends.
And then there are the Brakes. I met Terry and Mandy at a dude ranch twenty years ago. They have been to visit in Little Rock several times, Charles, my mom and the kids made several visits to their wonderful home in Wiltshire, England. Steve and I stayed with them in Wiltshire two years ago. Steve and I were so glad to host them this summer for two glorious weeks. We had a blast. It may be a few years before we are physically in the same place again, but I know we will take up right where we left off.
There are circles to friendships. My martial arts friends were my inner circle when martial arts were my life. We are still friends, but the intimacy and closeness of day to day involvement is not there. Some friends have moved, or our children have grown up. We don’t attend the same church anymore. That’s what I love about Facebook. I can still be in contact with those friends.
Some friendships cross over time, careers, distance and marriages. Some don’t.
And that’s OK.