A few days ago, my sisters and mom and I all got together, like we do every year, at The Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills. It is by far one of my favorite Christmas traditions that my mom started with us a few years ago.
More than anything, it's an opportunity to get together, catch up, and inevitably get vulnerable with each other over things that we might be dealing with. You see, we are a super tight-knit family, probably abnormally so. But, as life gets busier with kids and jobs, it's gotten harder to have uninterrupted times to connect and really get to the bottom of the challenges we might be facing in life..
As I have gotten farther from my college days (now 9 years out!) where I was "friends with everyone" , I have begun to realize more and more (with the constant reminder and help from my twin sister Karen) that my time is precious and I dont really want to hang out with "everyone". We only have so much time away from work, responsibility, kids, annoying daily duties, etc. So who is going to be the recipient of that time? Your time? For me thats my family and handful of friends that feel like family. The ones that KNOW me, add to my life, teach me, and make me want to be a better more patient and giving person.
My sisters and mom are among that group that are always a good investment of my time. At times they give and I take, others they take and I give. Advice, love, encouragment, patience... sometimes even each others crap. Thats why our tea once a year is so special. It's our night for uninteruppted adult time to reconnect (with the exception of sweet 4 year old Penny who was an angel), check in, you know, talk about the real stuff...the stuff we are insecure about, hoping for, working towards, dreaming of but are afraid to discuss in the case we dont get exactly what we want and feel like a loser...and need our loved ones to encourage us in once again.
I will still of course make new friends with people who cross my path, but I am just more honest with myself (and picky!) on which friendships are:
3. Straightforward with good intentions
4. Confidence building (and not in a butt kissing kinda way) and that fill me up.
5. Inspiring or Motivating- Makes you want to strive for more in some way.
6. Founded in some basic shared morals and principles
I think its also important to understand when people suck life from you, make you feel insecure, dont make an effort or care in the same way you do, or just simply, dont quite do it for you. When you figure it out, friend edit. Put effort only into relationships that give back to you in some way, and that make you feel valued.
I felt for many years that it was my responsibility to keep in touch with college friends, church friends, childhood friends, modeling friends, and the list goes onnnn. Its not. As we go through stages of life, friendships either fade out (or get "edited") or stand the test of time. The ones that are tried and true also ebb and flow, and thats okay. The amount of free time that we have to offer our friends and family also ebbs and flows.
Our night at The Peninsula Hotel, where we sit for a few hours sipping on fancy Black Currant Tea and scarf french fries (we ordered on the side because we dont care if we look like hicks) is a time where conversations and encouragement flow, even if this season is short on quality time. We laughed, got vulnerable, shared hard stuff, and went out on a limb to express things we would love to try but don't feel confident in just yet. It was a therapeautic and encouraging night, where all of a sudden I felt capable and valued.
That's what true friendship is all about it my mind. I hope to be a source of encouragement and inspiration in my relationships the way my family and "edited" down friends are to me.
If you love the idea of a Holiday Tea and would love to get some quality time with your family and/or friends, here are 3 awesome options to choose from: