Sunday, May 11, 2014

Make an effort.

Holidays typically prompt me to reflect upon the friends and family in my life, no matter the particular celebration at hand. Today was no exception. I can't help but think about how small my circle of family and friends has grown over the years. I realize many of you reading this fall into either of those two categories, but let me clarify even further. Within the span of a year, I will probably see between three to five relatives (not including those whom actually live with me) once or twice. Likewise, I may see one or two friends within a year (again... once or twice). Many of the people reading this will be doing so through Facebook - extended family, those of you whom I went to grade school with, worked with at previous jobs, etc. We haven't actually seen or spoken to each other in person at any point within the past seven to twenty years. Let me repeat that - seven to twenty years.

Are we really friends? In fact, wouldn't it be better to call us acquaintances?

Are we really family? It takes more than shared genetic material to be family in my book. To place this point in perspective, any two humans from anywhere on the planet are 99.9% genetically similar.

I've heard rumblings through the proverbial grapevine that many members of my extended family have taken offense to not seeing me for many years. They feel slighted that I don't come to Virginia to see my father and all of my kin. Yet, these same individuals made little to no effort to have any sort of tangible relationship with me before while I still lived in Virginia. Only now, after I have lived for many years in North Carolina, do they feel as if I should make more of an effort to be "closer". You want to know why I don't visit my father? Read this entire blog and learn the answer. You could ask him, but I doubt he knows himself as to why I don't speak to him. In correlation to this point, I'm not the type whom constantly clings to family for my survival (both financial and emotional). I don't live in a collective. I don't rely upon the kindness and assistance of relatives. I stand on my own two feet. Independence is important to me. Relying upon family goes against my very nature.

Some of you I have maintained close contact with, though we may not have shared the same airspace in quite a while. Distance has not kept us from staying in contact, to which I am grateful. We are certainly family and/or friends. You know who you are. Thank you.

The point I believe I'm winding a path towards is this...

If you want to be a part of my life, then you must make an effort to do so. It's okay to be a past acquaintance or a member of my extended family. Yet, don't make it out to be more than it really is. If you want things to change between us, then make a concerted effort. Or don't... it's your choice.

"When I see a bird that walks like a duck and swims like a duck and quacks like a duck, I call that bird a duck." -- James Whitcomb Riley

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