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I Knew Just Who They Meant

Monday, February 25, 2013

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.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I think of these things every time I sign into FB or sparks. It's a train of thought worthy of pursuing to the max. We each make our own little 'indent' in this reality, but it is up to us what that 'indent' will be, either for good or for ill. I think we all want to feel that our existence here in this plane mattered to someone other than ourselves, and I often wonder if this cyber world does not, in some ways, make us more 'isolated' in our 'real time' lives. ??? Balance is the key. This new cyber world gives us the ability to come in cyber contact with people across the globe, most of whom we will probably never meet, but yet it is vitally important to build on those connections that we have in our day to day lives....maybe more important, in a lot of ways. I have always tended to be a 'hermit', of sorts, working by night, sleeping by day, avoiding all of the rush and hubbub of the daytime work-a-day world and people. Hence, I have many more 'cyber friends' than I do actual in-my-life friends....and I consider that to not be a good thing, overall. As much as I love my cyber friends, I also am now taking the steps to connect (and reconnect) more with people close to me, physically and in real time versus cyber time. I am also taking the steps to meet those cyber friends who are most significant to me along this route in order to make them more personal. I cannot mourn the lack of friendship in my life because I am the one who created that vacuum, so I am working to now correct it. But this is an excellent blog, thank you for posting such a thought provoking piece of work.
    1865 days ago
    You very eloquently shared something that crosses my mind quite often. Some people just seem to come from a place of negativity. I know we all have bad days and it is certainly okay to ask for a shoulder now and again...but I do tire of hearing nothing but excuses.

    You certainly live up to your "community leader" badge on your wall...thanks for all you do.
    1879 days ago
    You have mentored me for years now in how to be part of an online community. I wonder some times if you know how far and how deep your coaching goes. I am grateful. This on line community thing reminds me of the scene in the last Harry Potter in the train station between living and dying where Harry asks Dumbledore if the scene is all in his head. D responds of course it is Harry but that doesn't make it any less real.
    1880 days ago
    My condolences on the loss of your friend.

    And yes, we each leave a legacy - we should always remember that. How do we want to be remembered? And equally important, what do we hope people will forget? (They don't forget the stuff we wish they would!)

    So yes, live each day as if it's your last day on earth. Live your life as if you will live forever. (I think that's from the Talmud somewhere........)
    1881 days ago
  • NUMD97
    Incredibly ironic reading this just now. I lost a close friend almost three weeks ago, and I have been asking just that: What is her legacy? What did she leave behind for the rest of us?

    As for SP, yes, indeed, it is a very supportive community, for the most part. People contribute here, and take from here, what they can and what they will. In an ideal world, more of us would be more supportive here, and less whining, and it is always a good reminder that we should be mindful of our conduct here. I do try. But the flip side is when you do offer some on here [not all by any means] a kindness, some grab on to it as they would a life preserver. Like everything else, SP is a question of balance.

    Thanks for posting a most insightful blog. Sorry for the loss of your friend.


    1881 days ago
    1881 days ago
    1881 days ago
    Great point Jes and thanks so much for PRACTICING those words so faithfully. Our SparkFamily is so blessed to count you among us!

    Keep paying that Spark forward everyone! It's one of the best Win-Win deals you can get!


    ps...and yeah, savor and seek out those precious contacts we have with each other, both in real time and virtually, but ESPECIALLY LIVE, TOGETHER & FACE-TO-FACE!
    1881 days ago

    Comment edited on: 2/25/2013 9:05:25 AM
    Beautifully said.
    1881 days ago
  • CDCSMITH2013
    Excellent questions and blog. Sorry for the loss of your friend.
    1881 days ago
    Wag more, bark less. I like that.(from your page). I used to be a member at another diet web site where I vented quite a bit. I'm trying to avoid that here, but I like to think that I am light years away from where I was then, so...I've had the same experience, Googling people to find out that they are no longer living. And I maintain a "cyber-only" friendship with a woman from the previous diet site. I have no idea what she looks like. It is a strange new world, isn't it?
    1881 days ago
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