We live in a strange world.
We are in contact.
But, in many ways, we aren't.
Case in point. I am FB friends with a lot of people, including people from my past. Got a notification of a birthday. Went to write on the wall. And, you know, you expect to see a ton of birthday wishes. instead, there was an RIP wish.
I did some sleuthing. It seems this person died on January 13th (and the birthday would have been February 21st). And so the information came a good 6 weeks too late.
It's so odd, learning of this sort of news in this particular manner. This person was 61, and had had health issues. Such things feel weird but, deep down, they shouldn't be utterly shocking. After all, even the health nuts among us can still get cancer. And anyone can be hit by a bus, yes?
And it makes me think of others, who I've looked up, with varying degrees of success. The suicide. The physics professor. The doctor. The missionary in Japan. The city manager. The writer. The aviation engineer. The artist. The independent filmmaker. The insurance broker. The ex-con.
These are not all exes, I might add. There are people - male and female - who I've lost touch with, but I've stalked online a bit. Some have written back when I've hit "contact". Others have not bothered, or the contact page hasn't been maintained and, instead, goes nowhere, and I end up wondering about that.
It's a game a lot of us play, and there's nothing wrong with playing it. Hell, it might be, for some people, the reason why they're not being hired. You should Google yourself, particularly if you've got a common name, and check out your own online reputation. And repair it, if you can.
And you can go out and make your own reputation as well. I own my own name as a domain, and I use it.
And there is your rep here, too, even if you just use a screen name and never friend people elsewhere and keep SP thoroughly separate from everything else in your life.
So, what kind of SP member are you, really?
Do you cheer on others? Or wallow in your own misery, hoping others will pick you up? Do you add as many helpful tips as you can about how to do this? Or do you just sit and complain about what you feel you cannot do?
Now, there is nothing wrong with venting or complaining. Wallow, if you must. Hey, I'm not stopping you. And there can be days when it really feels like all of that.
When the wallowing and the complaining and the venting take over, and are the only thing that you are offering, what does that really say? I am well aware that things are not always sunshiny. I vent quite a bit here, m'self. And maybe my own words don't stand up to post mortem scrutiny.
For that is what I am thinking about here. When all is said and done - and I mean REALLY all said, and all done - what is being left here, in this great community?
A big part of the SP journey is helping others. It's giving support, and encouragement, and passing on our knowledge. It's setting a good example, and it's offering a sympathetic ear, or perhaps a shoulder to cry on, if necessary.
So I ask you, are you doing that?
I do not ask you questions that I don't ask myself, so I can tell you, I am definitely asking myself that.
Just what are we leaving behind for each other? What legacies of help and caring are we building? A burden shared is a burden halved, so let's build them together.