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How a friend saved Ayla from a life of martyrdom

Updated: Jan 16

We don’t have many friends our same age and life stage. Why? Because we love learning – both from others who have been there before and others who have a fresh perspective.

Ayla here for some truth bombs. In my martyrdom phase, with young kids who needed my time and energy and a new business and moving and selling a house and eating like crap and sleeping like crap and and and…I was not my best self. I was short tempered with our kids, with Tim, with myself. I felt overwhelmed and anxious and unable to focus. I wasn’t a good friend and felt guilty about not being a good friend and then beat myself up about not being a good friend. But I still didn’t make that phone call.

And this is when I got a hard slap in the face. A loving, important reminder from a friend, but a slap nonetheless. A rainstorm had just ended and the sun had peaked around the clouds. My friend asked if the kids wanted to look for rainbows and when they came back inside, they had huge permagrins, excitedly telling me about the triple rainbow they saw right in our backyard! I was too busy doing something “important” to share in their elation. And my friend told me, “Ayla, you’re missing it. This. Your life, your kids.”

At first I was angry. Who was she – or anyone – to tell me how to live my life!?! But as my anger cooled, I realized she might be just a little bit right. Her kids were all grown up and had moved in with partners, so she had some experience to back up her statement. The more I thought about it, the more I knew she was right. I was missing it. By being a martyr, I was seeking the award for being the “busiest person on the face of the planet”.

But that award never showed up in my mailbox. And I realized that the martyrdom hat really didn’t look good on me. I was missing those joyful moments with my kids, my partner and my friends. I played the “busy” card so often my friends didn’t call as much. Was this how I wanted to live? Sad and angry about how miserable I was in this life I built, in the choices I made? Nope.

And herein I learned an important lesson about friendship said best by Glennon Doyle, “I used to choose friends based on similarity in age and life stage, but I’ve learned that these were the wrong criteria. Trying to live life exclusively alongside others our own age is like attempting to climb Mt. Everest without a Sherpa. It’s a little dangerous."

Now, in my post-martyr phase, I’m purposefully looking for those joyful moments and celebrating them with my family. I’m seeking friendships outside of our kid’s classmates' parents.

We love that so many of our friendships have developed from meeting people of different ages and life experiences and wisdom to share at the Taproom. For there’s no age restriction on believing in the power of your tomorrows.

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