As I get myself all organized, lists made, the letters written and address book at the ready, I realized that my address book sheds light on my life, and as I work my way alphabetically through it, I see so many changes in the past year.
Sadly many have died, and their names are crossed out, leaving just their partner's name or no one at all. Others have since gotten divorced and again, their name stands alone or they have moved and there is a brand new entry (or if I am more honest a scrap of paper with the new address written on it.)
There are names of people I haven't seen in years. I maybe used to work with them, but our paths no longer cross and I ponder what has happened to them. And then there's those that I am not friendly with any more -- the friendship has gone sour and they are no longer in my inner circle of friends.
What is also interesting is that I don't have the addresses for my new friends, people I have met during the year and with whom I have formed a friendship. Makes me wonder what they need to do to "graduate" and become an address book entry?
Of course these days most people likely don't even have an address book but keep all the information on their computers. Certainly that is a more efficient and accurate way to keep track of friends and family. But then you wouldn't have the opportunity to revisit your memories of the people in your book or to reflect on what they mean to you.
My address book reflects a life lived in two countries -- the UK and Canada -- and while we emigrated to Canada from the UK over 37 years ago, we still have maintained our relationships with friends back there. I look forward to our exchange of Christmas letters and when we go back, we visit and take up our friendship from where we left off.
I am also of an age where sadly friends have died and those lines through their names don't even begin to reveal my sense of loss at their passing.
But I am constantly making new friends which is exciting. I am fortunate because with my line of work in running Company of Women, I am always meeting such fascinating people and those fledgling relationships fuel my energy for what I am doing.
However, this year I realize that it is time to get a new address book so I can add the new folks and start afresh and get rid of the "baggage" from the past. My address book is like my life -- I am learning to accept what I can't change (death of friends), delete the negativity (soured relationships) and welcome with open arms the new (acquaintances fast becoming close friends.)
What would your address book tell you? Is it time to start over with a new book too? Do you need to clean house and remove some of the names? Or do you need to check in and recapture a friendship that has fallen off the tracks? Are there new people you want to include?
Think of your address book as a balance sheet on your life. Make sure the assets outweigh the liabilities. Writing off toxic or damaged relationships can be so freeing while reaching out to stay connected with people we care about can help us fill our lives with happiness.
Who knew that writing Christmas cards could be so illuminating?