Ask April- Observational Wisdom- Reach Out
Welcome to Ask April, a no-nonsense advice column focusing on what it is you can do to correct things that need correcting. While we all know much in life is out of our control, and sometimes, our reaction is all we CAN control- we really do have a lot of personal power, thankfully. Our will is just as important as the wills of others around us, and while we need to be considerate, we also need to make sure others are equally considerate of us. It is my hope that when you write in to me, asking advice, that I can help you make a good decision that somehow improves whatever situation you’ve found yourself in. As with anything I share, I recommend people don’t automatically take my word for anything, but include my advice in with the rest of the things that help them make a decision. I wish you well. Read on.
Every other week, I answer a call for advice, and every other week, I share my views on something I observed- I call this Observational Wisdom.
It’s late March on Central Ohio, and we can finally see the light to lead us out of the long, dark days of Winter.
Some of us struggle with what is called Seasonal Affective Disorder, and we stay tired for a good quarter of the year as a result. If you want to get technical, Winter here can be early November through April some years, and that is half of the year.
As a result, some folks fall off the map all Winter long. Some of us downright hibernate. I, personally always do an announcement when I feel Winter kick in, that I’ll be in my witch cottage hiding out until the thaw. This Winter was an exception for me, as it’s the first year I have had a dog. We don’t have a fenced yard where we can send her out to go potty, so that means I have to bundle several times each day and take her out. She thinks she is the leader of an Arctic dogsled team, and wants to go out in Winter a LOT. She loves snow, and will walk until her paws fall out from under her. I don’t have the heart to coop her up, so I take her out a lot no matter how bad the weather is. As a result, this year, I have been both active AND very tired from my SAD all winter!
Today, I lucked into a visit from another friend who struggles with Winter. She, too had fallen off the map all Winter. I have not seen her since mid-December, as a matter of fact. All last year, during the warmer seasons, I got to see her regularly. I was afraid I had perhaps upset her. No such thing. She just hibernates all Winter.
I had messaged her via Facebook about a week ago, and she immediately arranged to come for brunch. As we were stuffing our faces and sipping Riesling with grapefruit juice, I was reminded that to hear from people regularly, one need only be the one to initiate communication.
She’s got two things I don’t. 1) A full-time career- I just do odd jobs, and am a housewife. And 2) A kid. I have pets. Big difference. I have a hell of a lot more time on my hands than she does. Although until fairly recently, I always worked full-time, I’ve never been a parent. I have no idea the amount of work, energy, and time that goes into keeping a miniature human alive, and happy. It’s easier for me to drop a line every so often if we have not seen each other, than it is for her.
I have noted, since college days ended, it’s rarer that peeps stay in touch regularly. If I kept with the mindset some of the people who raised me had, I would proudly declare, “The phone works both ways, goddammit!” Sure it does, it’s just easier for some people to pick that phone up, or open up that laptop to send a message.
This is all because life happens. Besides jobs and kids, some folks suffer through hard times, be it due to health, finances, or emotions. That puts social gatherings on the back burner. Reaching out to say a quick hello after a short absence is the simplest way to maintain friendships that time can’t tend to temporarily. I’ve found at times when I reached out, a friend was thrilled to hear from me, and sometimes, really needed somebody to talk to, but did not know how to ask. We sometimes try to keep our problems to ourselves so as not to seem negative, or pathetic. There are times when we do that, and we really shouldn’t. Part of the reason we establish friendships IS to share the good times, but another part is so we have people who love us that we can count on to make the bad times bearable. Sure, it would be fun if life was nothing but good times, but that’s not the way things are.
Today was a gentle reminder to me to reach out to friends I have not heard from in a while. It’s not always because they are trying to let go of the friendship. It’s almost always because life has happened, and has kept them from being social.
I could list examples besides today’s brunch, but I thought of a few folks I’ve not heard from in a while who I’d like to message today instead.
Have a beautiful afternoon. 😊