This has been a week full of ups and downs for me — a roller coaster ride in ways. I went to a great professional conference, which I’ve been wanting for some time to attend but have not been able before, and met great people, including social media friends whom I’d never before met in person. I learned some really good stuff (it was a tech conference, and “good stuff” is, of course, a tech term), and I was challenged to think more and differently and better. I finally got to meet in person someone I’ve come to know over the past three years as a vendor/business contact but have grown to consider a friend. All very exciting.
But with the peaks there have been valleys also. I was absolutely exhausted every night after the conference sessions. I didn’t have enough time to spend with these new friends and feel as though I barely met some of them. As two of them put it in tweets afterward:
I also get a post-conference feeling of letdown when I get back to my “normal” world and the excitement of intense, focused learning sessions starts to slip away. I have to challenge myself to try to maintain the energy the conference sparked.
But the real roller coaster started before I even left home for the conference. Checking my email before heading to the airport, I found a message from one of my college roommates, telling me that a mutual friend had died after an 18-month illness — a friend I lived above in a two-flat apartment for several years and had reconnected with on Facebook within the last year. A friend I had not even known was ill.
I was shocked and saddened. I still am, truthfully. I’m really not that old, and the phenomenon of friends dying is still pretty new to me. I don’t know if it gets easier with time, but I suspect that it will get less shocking.
Before leaving home I sent a quick email reply to my old roommate. By that evening the roller coaster’s freefall ended, and we started to climb back up: The next email from my ex-roommate announced that she had been planning to come to visit our mutual friend and would now rearrange the trip and be available to see… her college roommates.
Did I mention that this friend/ex-roomie lives in New Zealand? And I live in the United States? I have not seen this friend in … well, let’s not do the math; suffice to say it has been a very long, long time. And as much as a trip to New Zealand is in my dreams, it’s certainly not in my budget any time in the near future. So this is amazing to me, and I cannot tell you how excited I am. I will meet with my New Zealand friend and two other former roommates, with whom I’ve reconnected in the last couple of years and do see occasionally (though still not often enough).
This week’s lesson? As my friend in New Zealand put it quite elegantly in an email, “Life, I am suddenly realising today of all days, is too f***ing short.”
Yes, it is. Friendship means too much to be taken lightly. Life is too fleeting to not appreciate and seize opportunities when they present themselves.
I need to do a better job of keeping in touch with people who really, really do matter to me but who have moved to far-flung places and with whom day-to-day life and chores have intruded to the point at which we are losing or have lost touch. Friends: You know who you are. You are all over the world, and I forget every day how easy it is to pick up my cell phone and talk to you as if you were here. Or Skype you and sit and drink coffee together while we catch up.
One of these friends is Linda, designer and owner of à la mode and author at alamodestuffblog.com, who created the One Moment (OM) Meetup to promote living in the moment. This post is partly a shout-out to her to say “I love you. I miss you. And I will do a better job of keeping in touch.”
Do you have a One Moment that opened your eyes this week? Share it on Linda’s blog or through Twitter using the hashtag #omMeetup.