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Slices of Life

Being invited

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For much of my life, I’ve been the inviter. I enjoyed planning and inviting people to those plans.

But in the last few years I haven’t invited much of anyone anywhere. I didn’t have the heart for it. I lacked momentum and (to be honest) felt broken so I took on a rather new role.

I found myself waiting to be invited.

Not at first. At first I didn’t want to be invited anywhere. I couldn’t plan or commit from today to tomorrow. I couldn’t plan or commit from 5 to 6 p.m. It felt too big. Too overwhelming. Because it was, at the time.

But in the last few months that’s changed. My attitude has changed and I’ve been going places - quite literally.

Lunch and shopping with a new acquaintance. A Friday night out. An exercise class with friends. A Chinese restaurant on a holiday weekend. 

Yep. I’m going places.

And it may not seem like much, but to me it is everything, or at the very least it is something. Something significant.

In all this getting out, I realized I rather like it, and I give thanks for all my new friends who have opened this window for me. In a sense, you’ve brought me back to life and it’s pretty awesome.

In that, I realize it feels good to be invited. It’s nice.

But I’m afraid I’ve emanated the “don’t talk to me” vibe for more than a little while. Too long, but that is what grief will do to you.

I’m sure there are people who might have invited me… then, thought twice about it. Because maybe they assumed I wasn’t ready. Or, maybe my grief was so palpable it made others uncomfortable.

Who wants to go out to dinner with someone who cries before the main course is served?

It wasn’t that bad (always) but I did go through a very tough, a very dark period and I realize I wouldn’t have wanted to be around me either – at least not for long stretches. Thing is, I didn’t have much of a choice. I was my dinner date seven out of seven, whether I liked it or not.

But time can be our enemy and our friend - sometimes both at once. Often both at once. Time has provided a gap between now and my loss and that gap has given me space to breathe, to reflect and perhaps, even, to live. 

To accept invitations. To look forward to them. To participate with joy and happy anticipation.

Thank you, to all you you, who have invited me to participate in life again. It is more - so much more - than appreciated.

Now I want to take it a step further. 

I don’t want to, need to, wait for an invitation (although it will always be nice).

I want to invite. I want to plan. I want to be the person who includes others.

To have fun. To plan the fun. To be the origin of the fun.

So look out, all of you who have looked out for me! I’m on the invitation warpath. I am to repay your kindness with walks, dinner out, plans for next weekend and maybe even a home cooked meal.

I can’t wait to be on the other end of the invitation. On the other end of giving. It still feels a little scary, but it also feels good. To move forward. To plan. To invite.

Who knew such a little realization could feel so big?

Jill Pertler is an award-winning syndicated columnist, published playwright and author. Don’t miss a slice; follow the Slices of Life page on Facebook.

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