I saw a friend yesterday. We had lunch and a nice chat. She flew to Texas this morning to see her family. Other friends and colleagues are busy bouncing around the world. I also just returned home from traveling. It is, by any logical parameter, a glamorous life.
It occurred to me, walking home, that this had also been my only human interraction in four days (aside from those with the nice lady from my local convenience store, who speaks no English). The (seemingly) glamorous, globetrotting expatriate life can also be fragmented and rather odd… frequently, and sometimes very literally… lonely.
These lengthy periods are not the Insta-moments posted every nanosecond as we collectively validate ourselves in a dirty ocean of noise. Life is often mundane. It seems too relatively easy though now, to go without actual human contact in a life lived largely online.
Sitting alone again on the side of my bed, my laptop reminded me I have many hundreds of “friends”, many of whom I haven’t actually seen or spoken to in years, or decades.
The more time passes, the less it would seem we’d be inclined to actually interact. They don’t talk to me. I don’t talk to them. How might I even begin? We all just… scroll. What would I say? What would s/he think?
But what if we did? Communicate?
So… I just did. I was drinking. And I did. Simply, and honestly, I just reached out randomly through the night. I just told people that I had thought of them.
80 percent of my messages were returned within the hour. Everyone else was scrolling too. Late into the next morning I juggled open tabs… sitting alone online as usual, but having actual conversations, learning unpolished things about old friends that I wouldn’t have otherwise known… and they me.
Be fearless, and surprised… and let yourself be loved.