I’ve realized that I’ve gotten into a bad habit… I’ve gotten into the habit of waiting until I see someone in person to catch up with them again. And then we do a, “Hey, I’m in the city – wanna meet up for coffee?”, and catch up on the past few years until the next time we see each other again. This happens with friends, aunts and uncles, cousins, everyone… And while it’s great that with so many people, we can just pick up where we left off, when I look at the amount of times I’m gone, it sometimes takes 3-5 years until I catch up with that person again, if ever. I guess I got into this habit because I always wanted to be living in the moment wherever I was. While I was living in France, I was doing the exact opposite. My daily schedule revolved around the 8-hour time difference in Saskatoon. I would wake up early to catch up with my friends who were just going to bed, and I’d stay up late to chat with people who just finished work. I was living in another country but my life seemed to only revolve around what was going on at home. So after that, I started distancing myself in order to appreciate the friendships I made in the new places that I was living. And I guess I started convincing myself that this was how everyone else thought too – that if a friend was living in another city, why would they be concerned about any of the difficulties that were going on in my life?
A friend recently told me something that really stuck. Because I’m always moving around, she said that each place and the people I meet are only a stepping stone of my journey and that I make best friends everywhere I go. It made me sad because I never want any of my friends to think that they’re just temporary or “in the moment” friends. I’m not the best at constantly keeping in touch, but I do pride myself in putting in the work to keeping a friendship going. There have been tons of stepping stones in my life: Caswell, High School, Trois-Rivieres, France, University, La Ronge, Bamfield, London, Melbourne, the Tomato Farm, Travelling… And I’ve met so many amazing people at each of those stepping stones, but none of those connections were more important than the last! If we’ve ever had a good conversation with some laughs and/or some cries, and we’ve never had a falling out, I can guarantee that our friendship is still just as meaningful to me. A part of me has actually loved this past year because since everyone was forced to social distance, I’ve found myself doing a lot more reaching out than I typically would – whether that’s sending messages, postcards, letters, etc. And sometimes people reach back, and sometimes they don’t. And sometimes I’m surprised and other times, I’m not.
I had a pretty rough November and December… other than work and people at home, I don’t have anyone that I speak to regularly. I got stuck in my own head. I realized that other than my parents, I didn’t have a constant in my life – someone who knows all of my problems and all of my achievements. I have constants when I’m IN different cities and going out and seeing people regularly. But now that I’m in a new city where I know less than ten people who I can’t even see anyway, I’ve really started to question where I belong. So November and December were really tough on me, and I didn’t reach out because I didn’t know who to reach out to.
But something changed this past month – I’ve been averaging five hours per week video-chatting with friends. And it’s made a world of a difference! I’ve been catching up with at least two people every week instead of waiting for those next coffee dates. And maybe we shouldn’t always just rely on the next coffee date to catch up, because who knows when the next one will be? I noticed a lot of people posted the Bell “Let’s Talk” logo for mental health, but why don’t we actually just… talk? Rather than just liking a status or commenting on someone’s story or sending messages every now and then… I miss just sitting on the phone and talking (or sitting in a coffee shop and talking). At this point, I could honestly sit and talk with the person doing my oil change just because I miss having conversations (and believe me, I tried when I went there last weekend!). I literally stay for 1-2 hours after work everyday just to talk to my coworkers. I’m an introvert and thrive off of being alone, and I’M having a hard time so I can’t imagine how the extroverts are doing. We’re ALL struggling. We ALL miss that human interaction. And many people may not even realize that their mental health is declining – I didn’t. So let’s talk! I would love to continue my new habit of talking to at least two people each week (phone or video) and with my schedule, I can be pretty flexible with any time zone! So please, if you’d like to catch up (because I know I would!), let me know when you’re free and we can set something up! Love always