With the holidays approaching, I find myself finally taking time to check in with friends and acquaintances that I have neglected over the past few months. I can come up with many excuses for the neglect – too busy with work, too many personal matters, and yes, too lazy. Sure I think about these people often, and may send a cute e-mail or check up with them on Facebook or Twitter or other social media outlets, but never really take the time to stop and see how they are doing through actual conversation, even if electronic.
For some, so much time has gone by that there is an awkwardness to the thought of popping into their holiday as if we never had time apart, but I know I am not alone in thinking this is the time to do it. I know this because I get those same holiday greetings.
Now, I am not knocking the use of social media or the web in any sense to keep track and keep up of the people in my life when time and situations make it difficult to meet up and catch up on all around us. Sometimes just peeking into the world of our friends is all we can do. I have reconnected with many of my childhood friends and even long-lost family members via social media, but that once a week (or couple of months) check of their status does not replace the contact one should make personally with those they care about.
After a particularly strange and challenging year,I have finally gotten off my rump to begin the holiday greetings and have found even more so how important staying in touch is when we think we have no time to do so.
After about four months of just checking statuses and profile pictures, I went to say hello and happy holidays to someone who I had done business with in the past and had maintained, or I thought maintained, a friendly relationship with over the past 5 years. I was saddened to see that this very personable, caring and friendly person had passed away four months ago. I was shocked. I went back through my last e-mails to her and found that yes, it had been that long since I “spoke” with her, congratulating her on the new baby and impending wedding. Now she was gone, and I didn’t even know it until four months had gone by.
The holidays usually bring out the best in people and the desire to check in on our friendships and acquaintances and even business professionals we deal with. This year I am reminded that if we don’t make everyday a holiday, we may just miss out on some really important things that are going on with the very important people in our lives.
So I will enjoy the holidays in the traditions that I have come to follow, but I will work to make every day a holiday and make a better effort to stay in touch with those who are important to me. That will be the gift I give myself this year.
Lastly, it has been tradition for me to have bells on Christmas for those who I have known that have become angels in my life, and according to Clarence, ringing the bells will give an angel their wings. So this year, unfortunately, I have a few angels I have to be sure to give their wings.
You will be missed: Saydie, Florence, and Barbara. Friend, coworker, confidant. The bells are ringing for each of you.