253801_206836752685494_144592465576590_459110_8004428_nIt seems to me that you can be friends with someone you work with but never quite attain a friendship; we can chat at work about everyday things  but how often do we take the time to know people beyond the work place?

I’ve worked in my current place of employment for a very long time–basically since 1986 with a very short period between 2008 and 2010 where I had resigned to regroup.  When I returned I worked my way around the hospital meeting and re-meeting people I had known over the years. It really was nice to be remembered by so many people I had worked with in the course of 23 years!! But my heart kept returning to my current unit (where I had worked for 10 years before taking a break) and I became a per diem RN for that unit specifically. I have to say I really do love working with my ‘old time’ staff so much! There is a comfort level there that is hard to express; they’ve seen me in various stages of my Life …and still like me.  But still, work place friendships are hard to maintain without effort.

In the past it would’ve been hard for me to break that barrier as I had small children and husband who also worked night shifts; its hard to reciprocate a friendship when you don’t have the ability to invite people over your home. Unfortunately sleep is a priority that must also be considered and given priority. My children are now older and no longer need chauffeuring or ‘child care’ and my husband now works a day job.  Because I work nights 2 shifts a week I can spend any of the week days hiking or being outdoors and still have time to work on my home.

This is where the hiking has made a difference. We are spending time in a place where there is no deadline to finish all your tasks at work so you can leave on time. There are no interruptions to conversations to answer bells and phones.  There is just the quiet found in Nature and the sounds of friendships strengthening. I am learning more about the person and less about the co-worker. I am hearing the funny little stories and about the surprisingly similar paths we have traveled that somehow just don’t fit in a workplace. And I am totally enjoying it! I am learning to break open my own shell and reveal more about the “who” I am and not just the face I present to the world.

Sometimes its scary to open yourself up to Friendship; it really does take a huge leap of Faith and Hope that it will be returned.  But I’ll never have it if I don’t leave myself open to it.