Living in a small town has its downsides; like, you always have the feeling you’re living in a witness protection program. Surprisingly, it also has upsides: FINALLY getting the much-promised NBN and enjoying the riches that has to offer. As a person who runs a small business from home, I get to choose my rest periods. So, living in the country, basically on a disused farm, I need my quality rest periods, and frequently.
My relaxation of choice these days is watching movies on Netflix. Primarily "rom-coms" and "chick-flix". Yeah, ok, say what you will, but these do actually reflect real-life situations happening out there. Some, annoyingly closer than you’d like. They are good for a laugh and are calorie-free as an indulgence, right? They also serve as no-brainers and welcomed escapism.
I recently saw a movie featuring characters whose ruthlessness led one character to pack up and leave town. Drastic and expensive, in real life, right? While I certainly was on the receiving end of Mean Girl antics in high school, I had pretty much abandoned the idea that after adolescence, women (and men) would behave better, in the real world. Errrrr ... wrong! With the day to day issues of running a small bespoke, luxury goods business, managing what amounts to a shelter for rescue cats, life is way too off the rails to be courted by real-life Mean Girls.
One good thing about going through a lot of the bad stuff, is that you figure out what matters. Seriously, when you think of global political instability, homelessness of people, massive numbers of domestic animals that need homes, when so many people in the world are struggling just to keep a roof over their heads, the antics of a few self-righteous, judgmental and basically spoiled desperate housewives, is something that needs to be ignored and purged from one’s reality. And while one would like the resources to travel much more, one has cultivated great friendships with a small number of like-minded, strong people, who call a spade a shovel and take no shit.
Another good thing about going through bad stuff is that, as any bad-stuff survivor will tell you, you learn who your real friends are. You learn that they are very few and far between. They’re the ones who have your back. They will know your sense of humour and run with it. They will know when you are joking and when you are serious. They are not desperately seeking attention and praise all the time. They don't demand gratitude because they showed a (shallow) momentary interest in your issues. Real friends don't force you to endure endless repeats of their health problems: the frequency of which engenders sympathy amongst their weak-minded cohorts and which is designed to do all the heavy lifting to cloak their incredibly dull personalities. They don't ghost you online, on the street, or anywhere else, for that matter. They are not furiously paddling the wheels of passive-aggressiveness. They won't suddenly surprise you by summoning your company ... usually, because none of their usual buddies were available at the time. They will not decide to take a general comment and make it all about themselves. They will actually stand up for you when you are being bullied, whether you are present or not. They will know that you have nothing to offer besides your friendship.
Another thing is that one should not need to be lulled, bribed or cajoled into a friendship. While getting gifts is always lovely, it’s the regular invitations to coffee dates, lunch dates and just hanging-out evenings that make life richer. So much more than elbowing one’s way up the small town pseudo-intelligentsia, poisonous geriatric bitch collective or middle-aged yummy-mummy food chain, ever could.