|No connection with my theme -- although this pink tree poppy is authentic> I snapped the shot on an evening walk with my husband last week. . .|
So. . . Authenticity. Fairly big word. Even bigger concept. And for whatever reason, I've had it come up in conversation with several friends recently.
(Please excuse an aside, but you'll remember me fretting about how my friendships would be affected by this move to the city, away from my island. Turns out that, while new friendships are still elusive in my urban environment, I've found some really satisfying social situations, opportunities to meet and engage -- authentically, even -- with interesting, compatible women. More on that someday, perhaps, but meanwhile, I'm surprised at how sustaining and sustainable are the friendships with women who live elsewhere. Turns out the distance works differently on a friendship than it did when I had four kids in school, was working and taking courses and email wasn't yet a thing. . . .)
|Growing in the same community garden, another tree peony, opening to reveal its authentic essence. . . .so intimate. . .|
The first explicit reference to "authenticity" that caught my attention was from a woman I've become close friends with since just around the time we listed our house for sale. We'd known each other for a year or two (mutual friends; took a watercolour class together - six weeks of Wednesdays), but not until a couple of months before our move did we arrange a coffee date. Then lunches then extended into another glass of wine because we were catching up on life narratives, filling in the back stories, comparing travels, talking about books. . .
I don't remember her using the word "authentic" at the time, but when we had lunch a month or two ago, she used it in the context of friendship -- and acquaintance, I suppose. I'm nervous to paraphrase -- she's likely to read this, so perhaps she'll help set the record straight -- but if I remember correctly, she was speaking of how clear this stage of life makes us about what's important, about how we want to spend our time (not just the minutes, hours, and days, but the years we know are limited) . . . and with whom. And this is what I hope I remember correctly: My friend is lovely and warm and open to meeting new acquaintances wherever, but what she insisted on during our walk to lunch was that she saves the best of her social time and energy for those who are "authentic," who are able and willing to be themselves in her presence.
Does this conception of "authenticity" and its connection to friendships resonate with you? Do you find that you're less willing to spend your time with those you find less sincere or authentic? Not that you expect anyone to be completely transparent, but perhaps that you're less interested in, less patient with, dissembling or guardedness. . . Nor do you want intense and/or authentic engagement in all social situations -- sometimes I think we're relieved, if not glad, to maintain some superficiality, as long as it's comfortable, fairly mutual, not brittle. But are you like my friend (and me, I must say), increasingly careful of how you spend your time, not wanting to squander too much time in relationships that don't feel genuine?
That's all I have time to write today -- there's the sweetest baby to cuddle, and his Big Sister will be home from preschool soon, wanting some book (or seven!) to be read to her. Next post will feature those transitional spring outfits I mentioned the other day (although the transition has well and truly been made now, it seems). After that, I'll pick up this topic by telling you about the second instance in which a friend mentioned "authenticity," giving the concept a slightly different twist. . . I'm curious to see if we can build a conversation around this, whether the word's been showing up in your hearing as well. . . .Let's talk. . .