See Your Friends in Person

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Thanks to Facebook, I have reconnected with friends I have known since grade school. I know what is happening in their lives, and they know the latest details about mine. I know where some of them stand on politics and current events, for better or worse. We message. We joke. We comment on each other’s posts. We just don’t see each other very often. Most of my oldest and dearest live in Louisiana, which makes getting together in person tricky … and expensive.

I just returned from a trip down south. I had the best time at a get-together with about a dozen girls I grew up with. I was staying at the home of one friend, and as I helped her clean up after the party I said, “You are all so lucky! You can get together anytime you want.”

“We don’t,” my friend Alicia replied a little tentatively.

“How can that be? If I lived down here, you would see me all the time. You would be sick of my face,” I almost shouted.

No sooner did those words come out of my mouth than I remembered I have some great friends in Michigan whom I have known for nearly three decades, and I haven’t seen most of them in years.

The ugly truth is: we get lazy. It is so easy to stalk an old friend’s Facebook profile to find out how they are doing and what is happening in their lives, that I seldom even call these great friends on the phone. I want to believe that it is just what happens when you live hundreds of miles apart, but I know that’s not the case.

When I was growing up, my Uncle Ken lived about 30 minutes away from my home. He and my mother were close, but we only saw him once a year at Christmas for a few hours. I once asked her why and she said, flatly, “We’re too busy.”

Are we too busy? That is the go-to excuse for not doing all sorts of things. I am not trying to say that we aren’t busy, but I am reminded of a really annoying thing my high school drama teacher used to say: “One does what one wants to do.”

It all comes down to priorities.

Of course, our lives are full – between work, family, taxes and trying to get the recommended 30 minutes of exercise at least five days a week; but making time for what makes us feel good should fall somewhere on that list.

As I sat in my friend’s living room surrounded by these women I have known and loved for almost my entire life, I felt this sense of ease. I felt complete. Why wouldn’t I make time for these beautiful people who have really become more like family? I don’t mean making time to look through their Facebook posts, but setting aside some time to hug them, look them in the eyes and know how they are really doing – not just what they are posting.

Who doesn’t have time for that?

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