Sun was reflecting off of the building behind us and the crisp, cool temperature was invigorating as my friend, Phyllis, and I sat on the patio, biding our time as the waitress retrieved menus.

Sun was reflecting off of the building behind us and the crisp, cool temperature was invigorating as my friend, Phyllis, and I sat on the patio, biding our time as the waitress retrieved menus.

"I know we got together for your birthday a couple of weeks ago," Phyllis said, referring to a brief luncheon in which we wolfed down our food between meetings, "but before that, we had not seen each other for months."

"I know," I said, thinking that it was probably May when last we visited.

She gave me a lift to work once in July when construction crews had my court so torn up that I couldn't get my car out of the drive.

"You have been living in a vacuum," she said.

I wanted to make a snide comment about a Hoover, but decided she was far too serious and would not find the humor in it.

"I know," I said.

She waved and I turned to see my friend, Lynne, walking down the street.

"Hey, it's Lynne!" I said excited.

Lynne, who is my walking partner, and I have not been able to get together since March.

"Is it OK if I join you?" she asked from afar.

"Get over here," I said, smiling.

"I've been thinking about you," she said as she approached the table.

"I've been thinking about you, too," I said, ecstatic to bump into her.

Lynne is one of the prettiest people I have ever known, inside and out.

When we walk, we have some of the best and most positive conversations, whether it is about family, friends, work, places we have visited or good books.

"I just asked Phyllis the other day if you she had seen you," she said.

"Phyllis says I live in a vacuum," I said as the pretty brunette smiled.

Again, I desperately wanted to poke fun at the phrase, but I restrained myself.

"I thought about calling you the other day," Lynne said. "It was just so pretty, I wanted to go walking."

"I have gone a few times, but not like I should," I said.

Months melted away as the three of us caught up on the latest news.

It occurred to me as I sat there with my friends that part of the depression that sweeps over me at times is of my own doing. I love getting together with my friends, but I get so consumed with my work that I forget to have fun.

I told the girls about a whacky dream I had in which a handsome Asian man was the brother of my other friend, Jessica.

"Only Jessica's not Asian," I told them. "She is Choctaw."

They both looked at me and laughed, and I shrugged.

"In the same dream, we were going into the mountains on vacation," I said. "We planned to stay in a cabin for solitude. My mother was driving a convertible and it wouldn't quite pull the mountain, so I climbed out over the hood and with my fingernails, I pulled us up to the top."

"No wonder you are too tired to do anything with us," Phyllis said. "Pulling cars up mountains all night long is hard work."

"Actually, I awoke with an overabundance of energy the next day," I said. "Maybe I just need a little physical exertion in my life."

It was nonsensical chatter, but it was the kind that is shared by friends who are comfortable with one another. Afterward, I thought about how enjoyable lunch can be when spent in the company of people you love, and I also realized how much I miss Jessica.

Her name has cropped up in several conversations of late. That evening I called her.

"I thought you had forgotten about me," she said.

"Heck, no, you even haunt my dreams," I said, laughing and telling her the same story.

As we talked, I realized that we had not spoken since I lost the hearing in my right ear and began having difficulty with vertigo back in 2005.

The realization horrified me.

"I do live in a Hoover," I thought.

My family always stressed the importance of hard work, but I have taken it to a whole new level.

"Jess, we have to get together," I said.

"I know," she responded matter-of-factly.

"I thought maybe you had moved back to Colorado or something when I tried to reach you through the operator and she didn't have a number," I said. "Luckily, I found it in an old, outdated planner."

"No, I'm in the same place I've always been," she said.

"Me, too," I thought.

Then I realized how long I have been in the same place.

Each morning, I wake up, eat cereal while staring at the computer, I check out the news while showering and dressing and then I get into the work zone. I park myself in front of my computer for hours on end, or hop behind the wheel of a car to race off to an interview or meeting.

"I have been in the same place way too long," I thought.

It's time to break the routine.

A teacher told me the other day during an interview that she always loved the quote, "I smelled the roses, now I want to smell the daffodils."

I can barely remember smelling the daffodils, let alone the roses. So, I think it is time to search for some honeysuckle.

Life can be that sweet. I remember, even if it is vague memory.

In my dream, after I finished pulling the convertible to the top of the mountain, it was not seclusion that I found at all. The cabin was filled with people, family, friends and, yes, the handsome man of my dreams.

There comes a time when you have to make a move, even if it is wrong. Now is the time for me to reconnect with old acquaintances and to find new friends.

I'm tired of being in a vacuum.

Work is still important to me. In fact, as a Type A personality, I thrive on work, but it is not everything. No one should ever allow three years to fall between phone calls with a dear friend.

Cathy Wogan is a staff writer for ThisWeek.

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