December 18, 2019-
A long absent friend re-connected with me, recently. He told me of his present life, as his wife’s full-time caretaker. This, of course, brought back memories of my own situation, 9-10 years ago. Had I to do it over again, I would, in a heartbeat.
More cogent, though, is the question of what connections in one’s life bring about commitments. Spouses, children and parents are obvious urgent commitments. Siblings and close friends are up there, also. There is, though, the caveat that people to whom your ties include respect for their individuality and privacy may not WANT anyone’s involvement in their lives. I face this, presently, with one whom I love dearly-knowing that love is something that requires me to leave her alone, at least as long as there is not threat to her life and limb. Even then, any involvement on my part would be in concert with her closest family members.
There is also, in a world that is, simultaneously, digitally connected and riven with anonymity and division, a tendency for the disconnected to demand attention, at least in social media and chat, for their most quotidian concerns. I can hear people saying, “Well, aren’t 90 % or more of our day-to-day lives made up of quotidian events?” Yes, they are, at least that much. I belong to a social media group that is called “I Did A Thing.” It is intended for people who have suffered from social anxiety and low self-concept, to gives themselves a boost, by sharing their everyday achievements with like-minded people. I don’t go on there as much, as I did in the beginning of the group, nor do I see that many people using the site, anymore. I do support those who post, some of whom I’ve met face-to-face.
The other group who post, largely in online chat forums, such as Facebook Messenger, are mentally ill adults, many of whom seem to have no other avenue to express their concerns. Most of these posts are about issues that those of us lucky enough to have had patient, loving parents and friends are able to resolve on our own. I have learned to schedule time, in early morning and late evening, to hear out such people and offer simple solutions, as best I can. The issues are often repeated, day to day, but that is what any one of us may called upon to address.
Our connections do not always require commitment, especially if, as sometimes happens to me, there are more pressing matters, closer to home. We do our best , though, as we just may be all one another have.