Time Is Not Your Friend

Life is not going to slow down any of us anytime soon.

I found myself speaking with a friend recently when a familiar phrase entered our conversation.

“When things slow down we’ll need to grab lunch and catch up,” I said.

Most of us do not need to rewind too far back to when we found this phrase fluttering into a conversation like a placeholder to one day return.

But life does not slow down. And most times our well-intended words invisibly erode as the rushing current of life races around us.

The truth is each of us would like more time. The reality is, however, this isn’t going to happen. The creation of time is nothing more than us making decisions about what we value and how to spend the finite amount of time on hand.

Friendships are a result of an investment. Granted we will occasionally meet someone we share interests with, thus allowing for a common platform to share ideas or simply grab a ballgame together. But most times, these are more akin to a loose network of individuals who, due to no fault of either, are mere surface scratches in a world of relationship building.

A true friendship, however, is deep and filled with shared emotions. Beyond the common interests are tears, laughter, and deeply personal experiences that begin and end within the private boundaries of two people. Each is the result of investing time and emotional currency into an intimate capsule of experiences – resulting in a truly unique bond.

Today the word friendship seems to be finding itself diluted into a former shell of itself. We ‘friend’ people on Facebook, we ‘connect’ on LinkedIn, or we carelessly extend the term to people we don’t even know the name of their spouse or children. Additionally, our shared experiences can be as shallow as someone we served on a committee or met in passing over lunch.

My millennial daughter summed it up best one day when talking about ‘unfriending’ someone from her Facebook account.

“Its not like they are a real friend, she said. “They’re Facebook friend.”

I thought about the distinction her generation assigns – making friends is as easy as simply clicking the ‘accept’ button on screen. Easy come and easy go. The time investment in a modern friendship can many times be measured in nanoseconds.

True friendship takes time – and lots of it. During the arc of any friendship, two people are making time for each other. Granted as we age, this becomes more complicated and difficult. But the formula is still the same. Time plus genuine concern for another is not only the foundation for starting a friendship, but also an investment you must keep alive.

I owe my friend lunch. Like you, we are busy people. If allowed to, our calendars will passively fill in any available time. But friendship, and the effort to keep it alive, takes work. Don’t let time lead to your ‘unfriending’.

– 30 –

Razor Cuts Through Time

I will never buy another razor in my lifetime.

“Dad,” she said, me sitting on the steps of a shop nestled in the SoHo district of New York City. “I bought you something.”

My daughter is now an adult – woman. Traveling together, just the two of us arms length from each other for a week, was a new experience. Until this particular trip, arm’s length meant me holding her hand to keep her out of traffic or wandering off into a crowd. College aged adults don’t need this type of supervision.

Sitting down next to me, she hands me a small bag flowing over with colorful tissue paper.

She is beautiful. Long gone are the days of the little girl who’d sit closely against me as crowds swirled around us or see me as someone with the means to purchase a souvenir she might spot on a shelf. Today, on this trip, she is confident, educated, and self-sufficient. She is an adult in every sense of the word.

“Open it up,” she said.

I can’t help but wonder how we’ve arrived at this point in life, the two of us adults each capable of making independent decisions across wide spectrums of issues. To her, this is her city, a place she could only know better if she already had a local zip code. That of course, is next.

Pulling the noisy tissue paper from the bag, I reach down and discover a box. I look back up at her, the moment we’re sharing distracting me, and see her face in the afternoon light. I see my wife, her mother, below the surface. Inner strength and drive are on display.

Pulling the box from the bottom of the bag, she helps me open the sliding case.

She tells me she knows this is not the same price as an airline ticket, but she wanted to get me something to remember our trip.

I don’t know the name on the box let alone the names of most of the stores along the narrow street. But she does, and to her this is important.

The box slides away to reveal an orange handled razor and a couple tubes of liquids. Taking each out, she tells me how to use them on my face. I listen.

What strikes me is how different this moment is to me. As my mind tells me, gifts from my daughter come in forms of stuffed animals or t-shirts. The box in the bag is different.

Reaching down, I pick up the razor. An unfamiliar logo is embossed on the orange handle – a name I’d never find in a local drugstore.

The razor gently balances in the palm of my hand. What I see, however, represents so much more. My daughter is an independent adult completely capable of making her own decisions, formulating opinions, and supporting herself. And this one, the orange handled razor with a name I don’t recognize, is her sharing a small part of her new world with me.

The world may very well come up with a razor capable of mowing the lawn, loading dishwashers, and monitoring blood pressure. But to me, nothing else will be able to give to me what I received sitting on the steps while staring at an orange razor in the palm of my hand.

– 30 –