So I’m really bad at keeping in touch with people. I don’t pretend to be good at it and my truest and oldest friends and family have come to expect my sporadic messages, late birthday presents and general lack of communication. I am an aunt of 4 and a Godmother to another 4, and I keep wondering if I’ll ever get better at it. And now I’m worry that I’ll make a bad impression or scare them for life in some way.
As I’ve become older, friends and family have moved away and are now dotted around the globe. It’s more important than ever for me to stay in touch and I try to use all the social media communication tools, speak over the net and comment on posts and send pictures as much as I can. But theres something much more special about seeing someone in person, to really connect by looking someone in the eye or holding a hand, even if it’s just for a second, that makes a lasting impression.
I’ve been thinking lately about who and what have made an impact on my life and come up with a myriad or different answers, some unexpected. In recent weeks I think more and more about making a mark in life and how much I really mean to other people.
My plan is that I get to go and visit some of my furthest flung friends in the next year, but lately the old bank account has been looking rather empty which has rather put a spanner in the works. As I try to get my life back on track (I keep alluding to this and I will explain, honest) I'm trying to make an effort - as far as I can - to maintain these relationships, in whatever way I can.
Last year I travelled to Warsaw to visit one of my oldest friends who I have been promising to go and see for a while.
It was wonderful to see him and his girlfriend (now fiancé), to see where they are and how they live their lives. It was amazing to experience the city and the National Park located so close to their home; to take photos and sketch and to meet friends and neighbours; to spend time reminiscing about old times, sharing stories from our shared past and hearing about their plans for the future. During the trip began to doubt my decisions and as I shared stories about my recent experiences, became mournful about a life I could have had. I also started to resent what I’d done and who I’d met, sliding down a spiral of self pity that my life would never amount to anything. I think the amount of beer I consumed may have fuelled this pity party and you’ll be please to hear that it was very short lived in the end.
I returned from this trip having thought a lot about the extraordinary events and relationships I’ve had in my own life. I came away thinking if I drew a line and marked each significant event along it, and drew another line and marked every interesting place I’ve travelled, and drew yet another line and marked every meaningful relationship I’ve had, even for a short time, that these 3 lines would be jammed packed with marks.
Sometimes you can get bogged down with thinking about what you don’t have, who you don’t have and how that compares to everyone else around you.
Sometimes you can be so tough on yourself that you don’t see all the hard work you’ve put in; relationships that you’ve carefully developed over the years, all the experiences you’ve engineered and shared, the intangible moments that get left behind, that fade into nothing; the memories you have made.
I made those 3 lines, my life lines, and something extraordinary happened. I let them go and drew 3 more.
I know now, that when I am feeling low, I can look at these 3 lines and confidently say that I have done the best I can do, and that actually, somewhere along the way, that I have left my mark.
I know now, when I’m feeling low, that I can look at the 3 new, long, (fairly) straight and clean lines and feel hopeful and excited about all the other marks I am bound to make.