Thursday, 2 January 2014

Has it really been that long?

Well, yes. Since September 2012 to be precise.

Which is a bit embarrassing really. What is more embarrassing is that I'm writing this on the 2nd January, because that makes it look a bit like a New Years Resolution. Which it isn't. Categorically. No sirree. And now I have found a link to back up my aversion to them.

The real reason is that, sometimes, the internet can be a real delight. Most of the time it's frankly bullshit - lots of cats and selfies, as far as I can make out - but at other times the technology of social media allows you to see something that, while it might not change your life in the way that it intends to, makes you think: "Yes, that's rather good, actually."

I've seen two of these posts in recent months. The first, sadly, I can't find, but its central message has stayed with me, which is telling in itself. It referred to the writer's friend who used to send him postcards from holiday, which didn't have any writing on them. Apart from the address of course, it's not magic, and this is a physical postcard we're talking about. The writer used to get annoyed with his friend who didn't bother to compose any words for him, until the realisation hit that it really didn't matter. It didn't matter because the important thing was the sending of the postcard, not what was written on it. The message of the blank postcard is "I am thinking about you, and you are important enough to me for thoughts of you to provoke action to let you know that I am thinking about you".

There's always a problem in getting in contact with old friends, a feeling that you've got nothing to say. But you know what? When you call one of those people-about-whom-you-have-a-nagging-feeling-you-should-talk-to, you don't need to have anything to say. Because the minute they pick up your call, or read your postcard, they are delighted to hear from you, and that energy will be enough to carry you through any awkwardness there might be. (This entire hypothesis does rely on the idea that you are in fact not an arsehole, and that you haven't alienated people entirely. If that's the case, write a letter that says "I'm sorry", send it to them and expect nothing in return.)

I've actually applied this in recent weeks. I've called people who I haven't spoken to for years, and send people texts telling them I'm thinking about them - not because I'm conducting some kind of self improvement experiment, but because I have been thinking about them, and I felt moved to let them know. And it's been brilliant. I have laughed, caught up on news, commiserated, been recommended music and films, and made plans.

That's got to be worth a text, hasn't it? So go on, tell one person today that you're thinking about them.

And the other post that motivated me to write? Well, I'll tell you all about that in the next installment, which hopefully won't take quite so long.

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