Staying in touch – why is it so hard?

I know I keep saying this, but this time – this time – will be different. I’ll do better at staying in touch. I will. I will.

But the tiny voice inside me, that voice that knows everything, says: You are defeated already. You know you won’t. You never do, even though you say you love – you do love – all those people you don’t stay in touch with, not even on facebook.

And I feel bad about that.

So, why don’t I stay in touch? Gooood question.

Answer #1: I guess I feel my life isn’t all that interesting? What do I want to tell people about? “I went to the pool today.” “I had an egg for breakfast.” “I feel strong.”

But do I not want to know how they are doing? I do! I do! So why wouldn’t they want to know how I am doing? Huh.

Answer #2: “I’m so busy.”


Answer #3: It takes so much effort to tell people what I’m up to. In order to do that, I need to sort things out in my mind, process my experience, open up, talk about myself. Huh.

“The unexamined life is a life not lived.”

And this: Open up, you say? When did I stop opening myself? When did I become the shoulder to cry on, who never cries on anybody else’s shoulder? When was the last time I had a girlfriend I talked to every day, confided in, trusted with my secrets? Ah. Before Jack. A very long time ago.

So what the hell happened?

  1. Alcohol gradually formed a buffer between me and the world.
  1. Burnout – literally got so busy, with work that overwhelmed me, with volunteer activities that consumed me, with family obligations –monthly trips to Toronto, trips now magnified by having two families to visit, complicated by the sheer distances between family members, happy but exhausting weekends of driving, driving, driving, punctuated by the good stuff — the love and laughter over meals and endless cups of tea (and, at the time, glasses of wine to wind up the day).
  1. The internet: changed the way I relate to people. Fed into my natural reluctance to pick up the phone and call people. More emails. A buffer. Now I text just to check if it’s okay to call. Exacerbated by the need to call people for work, to which I also developed an aversion.
  1. Telephone technology: I was bad enough at making/returning phone calls when we had landlines that worked perfectly all the time, every time, with reliable clarity and connectivity. Now we’ve traded quality for mobility, so that perfectly functioning landline has been replaced by unreliable, often crappy, VOIP phones and cell phones, the crazy-quilt complexity of routing calls through RingCentral, the spotty coverage of cell phones. (I’ve actually stopped using our magicJack phone altogether except for the odd local call because our internet coverage here in Florida is so spotty. Very frustrating!)
  1. Emails: why don’t I write more? BECAUSE IT TAKES ME FOR-FUCKING-EVER (see answer #3 above)
  1. I’ve become increasingly solipsistic in my old age, increasingly protective of my own space-time. Last year, it was my relentless focus on losing weight and gaining fitness, and on my spiritual path – the Buddhist training and the sobriety both.

So now what?

How do I get over this hump and start doing better at keeping in touch with the people I care about? I know it’s not just a matter of will, any more than losing weight or quitting drinking is just a matter of will. And I know it’s not just one-sided – it’s not like everyone is beating a path to my door and I’m ignoring them and not calling back. But, from my side, how do I support myself in making a change in how I open?

SOOOO not a morning person

So yesterday’s writing workshop was marvellous. I was relaxed about it. There was hardly anything to do, no room setup to speak of, except for rearranging the cushions, no bathrooms to clean, no vacuuming, no flower arranging, just the group, meeting together and having a wonderful experience.

It helped, I think, that it was in the afternoon. I think maybe that helps with how much it takes out of me. I can do a morning gig, but even for a 10:00 a.m. start, I need to be there by around 8:30, which means I need to leave by 7:45ish, and I have to be up about 6:30ish. That’s a strain because I’m SOOOO not a morning person.

I do *like* mornings, especially those times when I’m up really early, up first, and there’s a mist on the lake our whatever, you know, that sort of holy hush and magic that you get around dawn — I love that. But it’s not a “natural” time of day for me, it’s not what my body considers a decent hour to be up and about. It’s a decent hour to be curling up and burrowing deeper under the covers for another delicious 90-minute sleep cycle (or more), and slowly coming awake after that.

That’s why 9:00-5:00 jobs were always pure torture for me, let alone that time when I worked as a bookkeeper (I know, right, that alone is a hilarious thought) and had to be there and put together(ish) and at my desk by 8:30, “there” being a hour’s drive away. Or that crazy six weeks when I did a summer course (French) starting at 8:00 a.m. five days a week. There were days when I literally could not remember getting there (I drove), when I could easily have run all the red lights and stop signs, or run over a whole herd of goats in downtown Ottawa and not have had any recollection of it. Times when I’d be sitting in the classroom at 8:30 and realize I was still sleep-breathing.

So doing a morning workshop is a bit of a stretch for me even now — doable, but it does wear me out unreasonably. So fine, I plan for that — no plans for the next day!