Back then, 'Before Facebook', you could see the magic and mystery of connections. We've lost the appreciation of chance encounters and daily interactions, and fail to see the beauty in the relationships that seem to develop out of nowhere. Let's get back online and check how many likes we have! We've got it all reversed, with social networks only adding to the illusion that we actually have something to say about who comes into our lives and when. Okay, it may be easier to stay in touch, but that doesn't mean you necessarily want to hear the latest from people you ate lunch with in the sixth grade. Be honest, do you really want to stay in touch with many people from grade school? People come in and out of our lives for many reasons, and when we exit it's usually for a reason. Either there's just no more growth possible from the relationship or other interactions excite us more or Life has dramatically pulled us another way.
Yet how many of us dutifully log-in to our virtual networks once a day or sometimes more, as if new friends will emerge or some great job will open? It's usually the opposite -- my day-to-day interactions lead to invitations on Twitface. At the start of 2015, I really had had enough of all these networks, with all their the false, misleading promises at 'staying connected'. They had become procrastination devices, too, automatically logging in if bored or avoiding work. Also, the only person getting rich in any way was Mark Zuckerberg and I didn't see why I was doing his marketing. I killed all those icons off my website, all the 'like' buttons, and went cold turkey. My friend Susan and I entered a pact that we wouldn't log on for a week. "I'll know if you've secretly been on," she said.
At the same time, Susan's beloved cat Smudge was near death's door. During our cold turkey week, Susan called me and sent me emails on Smudge's demise and shared her painful decision to put her down at home. She booked for a vet and nurse to come one wintry Saturday afternoon. We Skyped before the moment and I said my good-bye to Smudge, the tuxedo cat who had been a permanent fixture in the background, always near her mistress. The next day Susan emailed me. Would you believe? She said three friends from overseas messaged her out-of-the-blue, asking how she was. Each of them individually reached out to her for no other reason than they simply were 'thinking' of her. They somehow sensed her and had a strong urge to find out how she was without knowing anything about her cat. We are all so much more connected than we realize. We each have secret, invisible bridges to some people in our lives, bridges that cover any distance or space, bridges that no amount of techno-wizardry could ever match.