What is Distance?

March 7, 2018

Life really is full of rollercoasters - certainly for me! But I'm actually learning that I'm not the only one feeling some of the things that I feel, and this gives me hope, because this is exactly why I started writing stuff down and making the decision to share it.

 

Our world is huge (yes, I know, understatement alert!), but through technology it is made so much smaller. On one hand this is positive, but there are also a lot of negatives about technology making it smaller. With all of the developments over the years, people are living much more transient lives, and technology helps connect with those we leave behind. But the transient/expat life also makes things difficult to keep our community, our network, and a word I've discovered this week, our 'tribe'. It is difficult to find and keep the connections we spend time making and building, and it is also difficult for the ones we leave behind.

 

Our world becomes smaller as it gets bigger - bigger for those of us moving, and smaller as it gets smaller for those staying in the same place. Is it fair on those we leave behind? They don't choose for their network to change, for close confidants to move on. There are the promises of keeping in touch, nothing will change, we'll still see each other, visit, or through technology, and all of this is said with the best intentions

 

The reality is quite different. And it is only through absolute effort that these relationships can continue to thrive. It's not that we don't want them to, it's that life takes over - but only if we let it. We all have those friendships that we're 'proud' of - the ones where 'it doesn't matter how long since you last spoke or saw each other, you pick up exactly where you left of'. I have a number of these friendships, and I love them each dearly, but there is the reality that between seeing or speaking to each other, we may feel sad, lonely, isolated. We don't want to let on how things are for us, especially those who leave, as we left to have a "better" life, so we don't want to let on that maybe it's not all like that. We also don't want to tell our friends that maybe things are going well for us. They don't want to tell us that it sucks that we left, and that there is a gap in their lives, because they only want what's best for us.

 

So even though we have extremely close connections, and these are our BFF's, we're not honest with them or with us. The longer it goes between talking, the more of the day to day stuff we used to share has passed and no longer seems relevant, so we don't share. And so the gap grows. And the isolation grows.

 

It is only by opening up about this - taking the risk and really telling people how we feel, and making a concerted effort to keep these relationships going, at the same time as trying to make new connections in the new location for the leaver, and the same location for the one who doesn't move. All of this takes time, and sometimes we're too tired, don't fancy it, the time zone doesn't work, I'm really depressed, or any of the many reasons that get in the way (sometimes even technology!). I know for me, sometimes I don't want to let on to the friends that I leave behind that I am making new friendships, and goodness forbid, maybe having fun. But isn't that what we want for our friends? For them to be happy?

 

It is only by communicating how we feel, about everyday things that we can realise that the feelings and thoughts we are having are not so unusual, that we're not so different, and somehow that can keep the connection going.

 

By choosing to share my life through this medium, I am hoping to bring people together by normalising what we all feel. Originally it was about me normalising what I was feeling, by mood tracking and identifying what was normal for me. It turns out that my 'normal' might be the same as other people's normal, and we're not as dissimilar as we think we are - when we're sitting on our sofa, not chatting to anyone, and feeling alone.

 

Today, go and connect with someone you haven't spoken to in a while. Maybe you can't physically talk today, but send them an email, a text, anything that lets them know that you think about and care about them. I know when I get messages they make me smile, and smiles and kindness can change the world.

 

I'm doing my bit today, why don't you.....

 

Love Becs xxxx

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