Friendship & Counterbalance

I was a lucky girl, working alongside my best friend, Linda, for a few DECADES.  Linda and I grew up together, professionally – rising in the ranks in higher education, picking up degrees and credentials – but we never stopped identifying as the fragile first year students that we were when we first met.

I’m not sure when the bonding occurred – you know, those moments when lifelong friendships become cemented, structural to our lives.  Linda and Vicki:  The Origin Story.  I should be writing about that. 😉

Both of our husbands wonder about us and shrug their shoulders when we announce we’re getting on the phone with each other.  I’d bet the average length of our chats is at least two hours.  We start with Linda’s quintessential, “Hey, how are ya” and in a blink, a couple of hours pass, in part because we leave no stone unturned – catching up about every little thing.  Some big ones, too.

Was mutual fear the catalyst when our friendship formed many years ago?  We both wrestled with feelings of uncertainty and worthiness, for different reasons.  What I know for sure?  We bonded over a shared work ethic and a desire to prove to ourselves – and others – that we had “the goods”, that we belonged and could make a difference. Still, there were times that I went astray, fixating and worrying about things that mattered…and things that didn’t.  When I’d succumb to a swirl, Linda was ever-present and ready to reel me back in. Friendship ‘checks and balances’.

Linda’s been my ‘COUNTERBALANCE’ for so long I wouldn’t know what to do without her.

**The APA (American Psychological Association) defines the act of ‘counterbalancing’ as a verb, from the perspective of experimental design, “arranging…conditions or treatments in such a way as to minimize the influence of extraneous factors…on results…counterbalancing is an attempt to reduce or avoid carryover effects.”

**“Counterbalance” is also a noun (from Merriam Webster): “a weight that balances another; a force or influence that offsets or checks an opposing force.”

Linda = Counterbalance

Linda does all of that…she’s the friend who provides endless support. The dear one who actively minimizes and counterbalances negativity in my life. She’s a force, no matter what.

When times were tough in my family, Linda listened and didn’t judge.  She knew when I met her as a shaky 18-year-old that my household was different.  Hers was, too.  Linda dealt with challenges and losses in her first marriage and despite the hurdles and pain points, I viewed her as the most remarkable woman I’d ever met.  Resiliency drew me in.

I saw Linda as big-hearted and smart, even though her life was a whirlwind with three sweet little ones when we met. She exuded endless amounts of patience and kindness, and I was struck by those nurturing elements – skills that my mother lacked. I gravitated toward Linda because of her inherent goodness.

Linda knew, even when my life was murky and troublesome how to find the light.  The sunshine amidst the clouds, the giggles hiding within the crapola.  So much crapola.  I learned how to find my way, with Linda by my side.

Linda worked hard – on herself – so she could stay in the light to serve others and she inspired me in the process. With each new degree or credential, Linda and I found ourselves in leadership positions and while we reveled in them, it wasn’t because of power or prestige.  Nope. Authority, we surmised, brought privilege and the ability to use our voices, our influence, to serve others.  I think that’s the girlfriend glue that sealed our deal.  Like-minded, all the way.  Help the people…help each other…life is one big circle of love. 💓

Linda and I traveled a lot as we became frequent presenters at national conferences, and we wrote a textbook together.  We got lost (often!) on our work/fun trips because I’m the lousiest navigator EVER but with every mishap there were gifts…memories in the making.  One day I’ll write about our shared tattoos …getting a little tipsy during a freebie happy hour with famous authors…and some hilarious adventures with new-found friends everywhere we went.  Here’s a pic of our ‘sisterhood’ tattoo…a memento from a trip to San Antonio.  Maybe we were both a little ‘out of balance’ then?  Hmmm…

When I wanted to be a hermit…because my introvert was screaming after days of non-stop work-related interaction, Linda was my counterbalance, encouraging me to participate…to show up… because she knew I’d have regrets later. (She was always right.)  Example?

It’s a privilege to be part of an academic processional at graduation ceremonies.  “Suiting up” to walk at graduation isn’t about the overly adorned dignitaries – it was always about our students.  Linda and I would sit amidst more stoic faculty colleagues and scan the program to find the names of our dear students and when each crossed the stage, for their handshake and photo op moment as their names were announced, Linda and I boldly and unabashedly hooted and hollered – screaming ‘woo hoo’ and ‘you go’ and ‘love you’ because we could.  We earned our seats and the pomp and circumstance, and fancy get-ups would not deter our enthusiasm.  Nope – graduation was about celebrating our students who gave us purpose by letting us into their worlds in all of our various roles:  professor, counselor, dean, mentor, and cheerleader

Linda’s influence in my life has no boundaries.  Whether personal or professional, she’s THERE.  The hubster and I were overrun with worry after our darling daughter (DD) was born…frantic about guardian decisions and protective ‘what ifs’ if tragedy struck and our little girl needed protection and parenting if the unthinkable occurred. Linda = Counterbalance.  Without hesitation, Linda stepped up to become the best godmother in the world, providing us with peace of mind, while also involving herself in our daughter’s life as a positive, loving role model.  I love this pic – DD and Linda when DD was a tot.  “Aunt Linda” may not be a relative by blood, but DD’s learned. Chosen family IS family. Counterbalance.


Thanks for reading and allowing me to introduce you to one of my favorite humans. Linda = Counterbalance. Linda = Love. 

Bonus? Over on Victoria Ponders I posted my favorite four-word gem from Linda…take a peek. You’ll like it.

Vicki 😊

39 thoughts on “Friendship & Counterbalance

    1. Thank you, Dr. Stein. Yes – I’m feeling an abundance of gratitude this week for the giving, loving people in my life. It was a wave of wonder I couldn’t shake, so I decided to embrace it. Thank you for reading and seeing the theme. 💗


    1. You’re right, Michelle. I think lasting friendships need some sort of ‘connective tissue’ that can withstand time, distance. I’ve experienced the fading friendships you mentioned and it’s sad, but not uncommon (for me). Maybe that’s what makes my blogging buddies so lovely. There’s a built-in connection, love of words, reading, writing! 🥰 Thank you so much!

      Liked by 2 people

  1. What a wonderful friend you have in Linda, and she in you! 💗 It’s such a gift to have people in life who nudge us toward our greater potential and offer a sense of security in the present.. the be heard and seen and love. That’s true family, blood or not.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Erin — and you’re right. I think we’re like-minded about that (the blood or not business) and you and your niece are a perfect example! I love, love, love the sweet stories you share about her. Cheers to friends and “family” – whatever that means – those who “nudge us toward our greater potential” (such good words, my friend!). xoxoxo! 💕

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love the idea of counterbalance that runs through this lovely post about the amazing Linda. I’d never thought about counterbalance in life and relationships but “actively minimizes and counterbalances negativity in my life” – right!! Love, love, love this wonderful tribute to a friend that brings balance, support, enthusiasm, wisdom, listening ears, comfort and big heart to a beautiful friendship!! ❤ ❤ ❤

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Well, you know, I learn from you. 😘 Your upcoming podcast with Deirdre is so good — listening to a preview encouraged me to ‘get quiet’ and meditate after I listened and great gobs of gratitude came through – about dear friends and family – and the idea that those who love us most know, instinctively, how to ‘counterbalance’ us when we need it. I love it when a blog post comes from a purposeful pause. 🥰🥰🥰 I might need to try that again!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Art — for reading and for that sweet comment. Yes indeed — Linda’s one in a million…for so many reasons. Not least of which is her stabilizing influence — the ‘counterbalancing’! 😉😊😉

      Liked by 1 person

  3. If one was inclined to believe in fate I might say that Linda came into your life, and you hers, at just the right time Vicki! Thank you for sharing this lovely lady with us, and telling us why she means so much to you 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Well, now you’ve done it, Vicki Lynn! Gone and written a blog which requires that I reply! Not just a ‘Like’ but a ‘Comment’! And you know how comment-adverse I am.

    That said, and as others have shared, we really are so very fortunate to have this amazing friendship that has spanned 4+ decades. We’ve had each other’s back through the best and absolute worst of times. That’s what friends are for – sharing giggles, truly listening to each other’s troubles and wiping away the tears. I can’t begin to count how many times your support, compassion, honest feedback, and occasional kick in the rear saved my sanity and made me a better person. And we’ve shared way too many goofy and silly adventures to count. How lucky are we!!!

    It’s been my privilege to watch DD grow up and become the wonderful and caring person she is today! She’s had a terrific mama and papa guiding her along the way. All that to say, I don’t know where I’d be in life if we hadn’t connected way back when. You’ve made my life richer and more meaningful and brought balance back into my life when I needed it most. Counterbalance goes both ways.

    Love you!

    P.S. Haven’t figured out how to make smiley faces and hearts on this site, but know that the love is genuine.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Okay – not fair! You’re making me cry, Linda Jane. I can’t type when I can’t see the keyboard — I still need to look at what I’m doing – LOL! And honestly, I wasn’t trying to tease you into a comment…but yours made my day. Thank you for all the good stuff…over so many years. Karma, fate, good luck, guardian angels — something or someone drew us together a long, long time ago and I’m so glad you’re in my life. Still. Always. xoxox (And I’ll give you a tutorial on emojis…my blogging friends know I’m a chronic over-user. Happy to share!) Here come a few….just a simple ‘right click’ and they’re all there for the choosing!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. What a great friendship! Co-presenters, textbook authors. Sounds like a wonderful partnership. You wrote that Linda services as a wonderful counterbalance for you. Something tells me that it’s an equal relationship. You offer her stability too. That’s the neat thing about great friendships. I love that you guys are still strong. Great post.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh Vicki, what a beautiful tribute to a beloved friend, and what a magnificent presence she is and you are in the world. You inspire me to up my intention to improve my own presence in the world. Thank you for sharing .

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh goodness…Julia…your presence in the world, right now – in this very moment – is a gift. Thank you for being you. I’m a better human for having met you, my friend.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Even though at this point we’re only words on a page, and not even faces on a flat screen, I feel that I have known you (and Wynne) for lifetimes. I look forward to the day when we’ll meet in person (or maybe in lightbodies) and collect an (ethereal) hug or two. Meanwhile, I’ll just soak up all of the loving heart energy that zaps back and forth between us. Thank you for YOUR presence in my world! ❤️

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes, yes, Julia! 🥰 I think Wynne and are both struck by the power of connection, as you said, through words. Just words. Thank you so much. The “loving heart energy” (what a terrific phrase) DOES draw dear ones near…it IS amazing…and the prospect of a “meet in person or in lightbodies” opportunity? Oh my. Yes, please! xo! 💕


  7. You were fortunate to find such a good friend along the way. I love the idea of a friend being a counterbalance. That idea resonates with me and prompts me to explore what it is I’m counterbalancing in them– or vice versa. Lovely tat, btw

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, dear Ally Bean. Fortunate indeed…and thanks for the thumbs up about the tattoos…Linda loves hers NOW but wanted to unfriend me during a few touch and go painful moments as she got hers! 🤣


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