Last night I was blessed with spending time with the handful of people who matter most to me, aside from Ryan (who was with his dad) and the rest of my family (who all live in other cities or states). It was a rare occasion when my closest friends all got together, and for good reason: we were celebrating one of our own, who just moved back to Dayton after being out west for the last 18 months. I cried over a cherry danish when she left, and celebrated over a plate of Fifth Street Chips when she came back. And as the little group of us mingled and talked, enjoying a drink or two and some grub, I looked around and it hit me how much I love these people. It’s a rare gift to be able to spend time with the people who make you feel most at home- the people who know you, your life, your dreams, your quirks.
I was talking with my friend Jason about how we’ve both been changing our habits lately, choosing quality over quantity. There was a time not too long ago when nearly every free night was spent going out, seeing who was doing what, going wherever the wind blew if it would keep boredom at bay or eliminate the possibility of hanging out at home alone. As if going to happy hour and networking with a bunch of relative strangers in a painfully superficial social situation was somehow a more appealing option.
But thankfully somehow, sometime, something shifted. I started to drastically cut back on going out, I stopped RSVPing to every single Facebook invitation, and if I spent time with friends it was deliberate. I also began to embrace the time to myself at home. I could do whatever I wanted. I could cook, I could organize, I could binge watch something on Netflix or get a movie from the library. I could read. I could catch up on my blog. I could call a friend to come over and enjoy a bottle of wine. Or call several friends to keep me company on the patio with a fire pit, watching the summer sky grow dark. I could get to know myself. And through the process of focusing on what gives meaning to my life, I realized that most of the other stuff that had been occupying my time ceased to matter. I didn’t miss it.
Because it’s the people we truly enjoy and the pursuits that make us feel most like ourselves that we should be spending our valuable time on. Sometimes that person is yourself. Sometimes it’s a significant other. And sometimes it’s your best friends. The ones who enrich our lives, the ones who add value, the ones who will be there at the end of the day.
If the people around you aren’t adding value to your life, or vice versa, I’d like to gently suggest maybe it’s time to evaluate why you’re still spending time together. As my friend Josh says, “You can’t change the people around you, but you can change the people around you.” Think about that for a second. You can’t change people. But if someone isn’t enriching the quality of your life by being part of it, then maybe you should change who you spend your time with: change the people around you. Focus on quality. Give the gift of your time to the people who truly add meaning to your life- and embrace it.