You feel like a parrot every time you say “Time flies — especially as we get older”. You say it a lot because you notice it happening often. It becomes most apparent when there’s someone you haven’t heard from in a while, and all of a sudden it’s time to catch up… but there really is no way to cram months (or sometimes even years) of important events into a short conversation.
It’s even more challenging when the nature of your relationship with the person is supposed to be more than casual, and yet the depth and intimacy of what you have to share would take longer than what you have to spare.
Either way, it’s happening. The cost is going to be less depth (skim the surface of it all), or less breadth (go deep but only in one domain).
The trick then is to figure out beforehand which domains need to be covered to begin with, and determine what depth is worth sharing. What is the point of catching up to begin with?
Relationships thrive (and even depend) on shared experience, and with the nature of the modern world, being in proximity of family and friends isn’t always an option. That proximity is what makes shared experience happen with little effort.
It’s the age of long distance relationships, and no form of light-speed communication can compensate for not living with or close with the people we want to maintain relationships with (no matter the form).
Catching up is simply a way of recreating experiences for someone who has not shared them with us, so that we can supplement the relationship on something close to a shared experience.
Actively, it takes setting aside the time and making a call, a chat session, or even writing a letter. There are also passive ways to do it, but even those have drawbacks.
The challenge in blogging is that it can be difficult to make time to sift through your experiences and decide which ones are worth putting out there. It’s also very impersonal and it tends to cater to a mass audience rather than the specific and intimate nature of a genuinely shared experience.
Social Media seemed to be the answer, but including the problem above, the other the costs are a culture of oversharing, relinquishing privacy, or just having an unhealthy online presence that research shows impedes on happiness and overall wellness.
Here is what works for me:
- Hit three main things — Health, Wealth, and Wisdom/Experiences
- Each has subtopics which you may or may not bring up.
- When talking about a subtopic use the format of:
- What it is or has been like (in once sentence)
- Why and your opinion on it
- How it has changed you, if at all
- Answer questions at any time; if none asked, ask them about their subtopic if they want to share or move on to the next topic
- 80% of the time should be spent on both your opinions, answering each other’s questions and the natural back and forth from that. 20% of the time should be discussing the details.
Here are the three main area’s and their subtopics:
- Introspection and External Relationships — What has been on your mind lately, family and friends; upcoming life events
- Sleep, Nutrition, Fitness and Overall Health (illness and injury)
- Career – include upcoming plans
- Side Projects
- Finance – taboo topic for some, so it’s definitely optional, but it’s always good to gauge what is possible with your finances and learn tips/tricks from others
Wisdom / Experiences
- Travel – bring up what you enjoyed most, what about the trip changed you (if any), and that’s it
- All media (what you have been reading/watching lately and why; what you think about it and if it changed your view (if at all)
- Significant Experiences / Non-Wealth related Projects
Is there anything you think I missed?
Happy catching up!