Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Resetting the Connection

This one time in university, I went to see a card reader, (under the persuasion of my mother-in-law). He offered a myriad of predictions in my 45-minute card spread: some were accurate, some were not. I asked him if, in my life, I would be afflicted by any major health issues. He said no. Today, I debate that. But he followed that up with warning me, "if anything, you have to be careful not to suffer from loneliness. It's not good for you and it can make you sick." Hmm.
I still have the tape of the session, but no cassette deck to play it on, as the march of technology moves on.
But his ominous warning forebodes in my mind.
Avoiding loneliness.
You could say it's another way of labeling my cure for boredom.
This card-reading session happened before I could ever have known I would be moving up and away to the Yukon, 5,000 km from life as I knew it.
Now that I've been here four years, I can attest that the Internet has proven a very helpful tool in my life, especially through the connections I've forged.
This blog, for instance, has connected me with people in my town and women across the country in an ongoing conversation. They have little thoughts to share with me on some posts, and I have little thoughts about theirs that I post. I feel like this really gets us somewhere: it adds new perspective to my understanding, it broadens my view, it makes me feel less alone.
An online forum I joined when pregnant with Abby has been valuable exposure to a great many women with all kinds of opinions, fears and shared experiences.
I have made Facebook friends with people I haven't met in "real life", but with whom I have exchanged written messages that have helped me through Abby's colic, parenting concerns, loss, and some menial difficulties.
I have made close friends with people I know up here, but with whom I have really connected over the Internet.
Sometimes the faceless expression of the written word is much easier a medium for me to express myself, and I don't deny that power.
Most of my family and good friends still live 5,000 km away, and through the channels of telephone, Skype, Facebook and this blog, I have been able to stay abreast of every one's goings-on. I love that Abby is reminded constantly of who her family is and what they look like through Sunday morning video calls. I love that even though I can't pop by my girlfriend's apartment this afternoon, I can still have a good, long conversation with her on the phone (while Abby watches Madagascar!)
These are all ways I see technology, at its best, improving my connections with people.
It helps keep loneliness and isolation at bay.
But so does effort.
I feel a pull to the other end of the scale, in my Libra-esque instinct to keep balance. I know that sometimes, connections and friendships are best forged by being present, showing up, and sharing thoughts over tea.
I may wish daily that I could see my faraway friends and family in person, but in the meantime, I am here. I am not a stranger in this place, nor do I want to be.
I love that I have a rapport with my grocery store checkout lady.
I love that after back-and-forth Facebook messages that get into some good, nitty-gritty confessions, we can pick right up in person over a warm drink at a downtown cafe.
I love that on a warm summer morning, I can step out in the front yard with Abby and start talking to any one of my neighbours, whom I know by name.
I love talking books with coworkers and customers at work.
I love the familiar moms and kids I see at parks and events across the city, all trying to have fun with our kids.
I never used to be someone who would be open to conversing with strangers. In Ottawa, my daily bus ride was an exercise in mindful meditation. I didn't need anyone else, my life was full of wonderful friends.
Here, out of my comfort zone and ever in a quest to avoid loneliness, I have had to step up to the plate. Now, I truly believe that strangers are just friends we haven't yet met.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...