sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

January 6, 2009

resolution #2
posted by soe 11:40 pm

On Sunday, I cemented a resolution for the coming year: to entertain more. Technically, it was two things I ought to do (clean and declutter) but reframed in a positive light that means I have a shot at actually staying true to it.

My second resolution for the year shouldn’t require such trickery:

I resolve to stay in touch with friends far afield.

As Shelley recently reminded me, when I moved south I loosened my ties with friends I left behind. I was so devastated by moving that it actually caused me pain to talk to them. I was better for a while and then two years ago I suffered a major depression and retreated again. Talking to a loved one could literally cause me to weep for days. So I stopped. I stopped calling. Letter writing had fallen by the wayside already, and I even got bad at mailing birthday cards. I let people know about the blog and figured that was good enough. They’d be able to keep track of me and wouldn’t have to worry. I became a lazy friend.

But as Christmas approaches each year, I break out the address book and make a good-faith effort to reach out to everyone who has mattered to me in the last 15 years. And, for the most part, I hear back from folks. And every day for six weeks I’ve gone to the mailbox thinking about the fact that there could be a little bit of love tucked in between the credit card statements, the nonprofit pleas, and the ads. Each one I opened, pored over, and then hung in the hallway over the archway to the kitchen. I can see them from nearly any spot in the Burrow — and they bring me great joy. In fact, they probably won’t come down until right before my birthday, when I start to feel bad about still having Christmas “decorations” up. (I will not tell you the last time I took a postcard off the fridge, though. If you’ve sent one since we moved to D.C., chances are it’s there…)

So I got to thinking that others probably have similar reactions to getting real mail. We see it so rarely these days. Okay, so maybe not everyone displays it. But it’s a tangible offering that someone cared enough about you not only to spend the $.42 to mail something, but also to spend the time writing the paragraph (or page) or two about their life. I know email is faster, but for the same reason it feels like it matters just a smidge less. That’s not to say I wouldn’t value an email, particularly if writing one is about as time-consuming as you can manage in this busy lifetime.

Same thing with phone calls. I need to call folks more. I used to talk to people all the time and it’s a rare thing now for me to pick up the phone. Instant messages are great, but sometimes hearing someone’s voice is important. Important news merits a phone call. I promise if I have any of my own, I’ll call. But it shouldn’t just be the big news that nudges the phone into my hand. It should probably also be the “I miss you’s” and the “I was thinking of you’s” that compel me to call. You won’t know if I don’t tell you.

So, if we haven’t spoken in a while, expect a call sometime soon. If you’ve got an imminent birthday or anniversary, a card will make its way into the mail. And, heaven forbid, if I owe you birthday or Christmas presents (I’m looking your way, Grey Kitten, Rebs, and Eri), I will get things out of my closet, wrapped, into a box, and out the door. After all, I’ve been thinking about you — and I thought you ought to know.

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