Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Who gets the time?

It's been a while since I've written anything here. The reason why I haven't is exactly the reason why I am now. I have a friend that I've known since somewhere around summer of 2004. He is one of the closest friends I have (and have ever had). We spent almost every day together for the 5+ years we lived local to one another. Then I moved away and physical distance did what it always does and put some virtual distance between us as well. We spoke less. We went from Sept 2009 to February of 2011 between seeing each other. The next time was summer of 2011 by sheer luck and then summer of 2012, and not since. It seems like a good amount for people so far away, but it was like dropping off a cliff after going from every day.

Thankfully, there are other ways of staying in touch. We text often and comment/message/etc on Facebook/Twitter nearly constantly. And therein lies the problem. We, very clearly, rested on our laurels of technology. It's human nature. I would almost argue with myself. "I should call him. Ah, why? He's always there. Spend time nurturing the relationship that needs attention." That is pretty backwards, isn't it? Why would you spend time breathing life into frail relationships instead of giving it to the strong ones. If a relationship would fall so easily, then does it deserve your time?

We get caught up in things. Life gets in the way. I was finishing school, then I was preparing to move, then I was moving, then I was getting settled, then I was catching up with people from here I haven't seen, then I was re-launching my company, then I had my first client since the move, then, then, then... They are all bullshit excuses. I haven't written here. I haven't made time for people like this friend. This particular person is experiencing some of the curveballs that life often has to offer us. We finally made the time and sat on the phone for the better part of 2 hours. We caught up, sure, but who has that kind of time and did that do justice for all the months in between? Of course not.

I took for granted knowing that he was always there and always had my back. And he did the same, but I'm not really concerned with his behavior. I'm accountable only for my own. Here's what both boneheads failed to recognize. We're always there for each other, given the opportunity. Life may not always give that opportunity. Nobody wants to be morbid and consider mortality, but it's unrealistic not to - at least a little.

I think we both got the message after our long chat. It's real simple - pick up the damn phone. If it's important, do it. Remember that whether you do it or not, you're making a choice. You're prioritizing. You're not putting your friend at the bottom, but you're not putting them at the top unless you make it a point to do so. I've been thinking about this a lot over the last few days and suddenly this poem was brought to mind.

Around the Corner
Around the corner I have a friend,
in this great city that has no end.
Yet the days go by and weeks rush on,
and before I know it, a year is gone.

And I never see my old friends face,
for life is swift and a terrible race.
He knows I like him just as well,
as in the days when I rang his bell.

And he rang mine, if we were younger then,
and now we are busy, tired men.
Tired of playing a foolish game,
Tired of trying to make a name.

"Tomorrow" I say,"I will call on Jim
Just to show that I'm thinking of him"
But tomorrow comes and tomorrow goes,
and distance between us grows.

Around the corner!- yet miles away,
"here's a telegram sir; Jim died today"
And thats what we get and deserve in the end.
Around the corner, a vanished friend.
The time will never come your way. You have to make it. It's always better than the alternative - having that poem apply to you. And when you make the time, contradict your instinct. Give it to the solid relationships that have earned your time, not the fragile ones that need a phone call just to stay alive.