A friend of mine has an impressive collection of shoes and bags. It's fabulous. We were talking about it a few months back, and she asked me if I collected anything myself. My first instinct was to say that I don't, but as I took a moment to think about it, I suddenly realized that I do collect something.
"I collect friends," I answered.
She gave me a puzzled look. "That's not a collection," she said. "We've all got friends."
For days I thought about my statement. I collect friends. Was this an odd response, or could I actually call my friends a collection?
I don't know, but I believe that everyone comes into my life for a reason, and if we make a connection even once they're in my life forever. Or I guess I should say, "in my collection."
I have friends that are younger and friends that are older. Some are really successful, others are starving artists. And of course, I've got a few lost souls in my collection as well.
It doesn't matter who they are or what they do. I honestly feel like I'm close with all of them. I really do!
That doesn't mean I get to see them all regularly, as nice as that would be. But whether I see someone every few days or every few years, we always pick up right where we left off when we finally come together.
Almost every day on the drive home from work, my husband hears the same phrase: You won't believe who I heard from today!
Even after 11 years of marriage, he never ceases to be amazed by the commitment I have towards every single person in my life, and how insanely busy our social life can be.
I just can't imagine not making time for someone after I've made a connection with them. I'd never want to miss out on our next conversation or experience.
You're probably reading this and thinking that it's impossible to stay connected all the time, but it's not!
One of the easiest ways I stay connected is by reaching out to someone as soon as a memory of them pops into my head. This happens all the time. Maybe the smell from a bakery makes me think of that amazing brunch I had with one friend, or a song on the radio reminds of the concert where I met another.
Any time that happens, I take it as a sign that this person needs to be in my life at that moment.
Perfect example: The other day, as I was leaving for work, I grabbed a gorgeous black and white circle scarf that I hadn't worn in a couple of years. The moment I placed it around my neck, a memory suddenly sparked in my mind and I started laughing out loud.
Three years ago I was traveling for work and I had the privilege of working and traveling with one of my dearest friends. On one of our rare days off, the two of us headed to a nearby mall to shop and catch a movie (pretty much the only thing you do when living on the road). It was during this outing that I bought the circle scarf.
Exhausted from shopping, we went to see Silver Linings Playbook with Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper. And I'm so glad we did.
In the film's climactic dance scene, Jennifer leaps up onto Brad's shoulders, and as he clumsily twirls her around her crotch ends up in his face. It's an incredibly awkward and funny scene, but not nearly as enjoyable as what happened next.
Completely dying of embarrassment for the characters, my friend buried her face into my shoulder and started slapping my arm, yelling, "No! No! No!"
So of course I began laughing hysterically at her reaction. And I have a very loud laugh, which made everyone in the theatre turn around to scowl at our disruptive behavior. Such an amazing moment! Sorry everyone, but totally worth it.
Now you can see why putting on the scarf made me laugh. I texted her that day, and we had an amazing conversation reliving that moment, laughing about it all over again. It was such an easy and wonderful connection.
And it goes both ways. Not a day goes by that I don't hear from one of the hundreds of friends that I have. They could be a close friend or someone I haven't heard from in years. It could be just to say hi, or to ask for some advice, or for dozens of other reasons.
For me, it doesn't matters what the reason is. It always feels amazing, and I do my absolute best to get back to every one of them.
Nurture your collection and it will nurture you.
I created the Positive People Army to help people connect and support each other, to share the moments that define their lives, happy and sad alike.
But I don't want people to forget that they already have their own army.
If you don't connect with your network on a regular basis, try this:
Every day or every week pick one person and send them a note. Try my trick and share a memory you have about them. You'll see how wonderful it feels to reconnect with someone, even if years have passed.
Do it. Right now!
Start making more memories today! And get more out of the ones you've already got.
Make 2016 the year you embrace your army.
How do you stay connected? How do you keep people close?
Let the Army know!
Also visit www.positivepeopplearmy.com for more stories.