I originally published this post in my first year of blogging…six years ago. In my humble opinion, the message bears repeating. If anything, its importance has become more evident in light of the lessons learned from COVID and social distancing. I hope you will indulge me in this repeat. I am pleased to report that I have made some progress in this area in the past six years…though there is still room for improvement.
When you are in the final days of your life, what will you want? Will you hug that college degree in the walnut frame? Will you ask to be carried to the garage so you can sit in your car? Will you find comfort in rereading your financial statement? Of course not. What will matter then will be people. If relationships will matter most then, shouldn’t they matter most now?~Max Lucaddo
This week’s blog brings us to my final core value: love and relationships. You could say I’ve saved the best for last. People are, after all, the most important thing in my life. They bring me the most joy, the most pain, the most growth. Even when I’m doing something that doesn’t directly involve other people, I’m usually thinking about how it affects them or what I’m going to tell them about it. When I have a lightbulb moment, I immediately start writing the blog post in my head. When I’m on a hike with spectacular views, I take photos to share with my friends on social media. When I’m reading a good book, I can’t wait to pass it on to my sisters. When I’m having a rough day at work—or a great day at work—I know I’ll tell Larry all about it.
Shared joy is a double joy; shared sorrow is half a sorrow.~Swedish Proverb
My best memories are those times I spent with people I care about. The first thing that comes to mind is our annual family trips and Christmas parties. The picture above is from our 2019 trip to Mazatlan with our children and grandchildren—19 of us in all! I also think of dinner at Ruth’s Chris with Blake, girls’ trips with my sisters, Sheri’s visits, lunch with my daughters, Yahtzee with Larry, Hawaii with Paul and Ana, Alaska with Wayne and Linda, and Mexico with Ray and Linda. Of course, any time the children and grandchildren come over is a celebration. I love getting my nails done, as much for the hour-long visit with Bobbi as for the pretty nails. The same holds true for getting my hair done.
During the lockdowns and social distancing triggered by COVID-19, the biggest loss for me was not toilet paper or canned green beans, but the family Christmas party and all the hugs.
Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.~Anais Nin
So why do I find it so difficult to work time for nurturing relationships into my schedule? Why do I agonize over spending an evening out when I “should be” exercising, blogging, or other tasks around the house? Why do I argue with myself about whether to call a family member or plop down on the couch in front of the television? Why do I hesitate to go to lunch with my coworkers when there’s a lot on my to-do list? Without exception, when I choose people over the other things demanding my attention, I’m happy with my choice. But the next time the situation comes up, I go through the same tormented decision-making process.
So my current goal for nurturing relationships is a simple one—reach out to someone I care about every day. That might be a phone call, a text message, a visit…any communication with someone I wouldn’t have otherwise connected with that day.
- Will you commit to taking an extra step this week to nurture a relationship, perhaps one that has been neglected recently?
- What do you do to make sure you are connecting with people in this crazy hamster-wheel world? Please do share.
I will be on vacation next week…spending time nurturing relationships in person…so I won’t be blogging. I will return on July 20 with a Summer Bucket List update.
Christie is an author and professional communicator who blogs about life transitions, wellness, mindfulness, and anything else that answers the question “So what? Now what?”