I have just returned from a visit back ‘home’ to Cape Town where I’ve been reminded of what really matters. And it is summed up in one word. People. People who are family. People who are friends. And people who you have never seen before and will never see again.
The positive and vocal African welcome at the airport started a trip that was a humbling reminder of all that truly matters – connecting with people.
I always worry before ‘going home’. Will I have to apologise for my lack of communication, my bad time management in that I never seem to keep in touch properly? Will I feel guilty that I’ve missed events and occasions and birthdays and I’ll never be able to make it up to my loved ones? Guilt is a very real emotion for a lot of people – never more so than those living away from home.
And then, you see them and it’s as if time has stood still and you pick up exactly where you left off. Conversations just seem to continue and the initial need to say ‘sorry for all I haven’t done’ – disappears. Why is that?
So much depends on the connections you have with people. The relationships that you have established over time and the memories you have created. If they are strong and intact then you will find that this solid foundation has not moved.
So, this led me to consider the relationships around me now. How much of a priority am I making the people in my life now? I have had the privilege of moving over 9 times but with this comes a trail of people and friends left behind in different places that I want to prioritise, but find it very, very hard to find the time to do. Am I forfeiting possibilities with people in the here and now by trying to maintain and hold onto connections from the past? Is it physically possible to find the time, energy and resources to do both?
Working parents also vocalise living with guilt that they are not spending enough time with their children and families. But working is a part of life and sets good examples for children on work ethic and responsibilities.
So what is the solution?
I believe the answer is being present in each and every situation and encounter with people as it happens. Of connecting, focusing and being active in the moment so that the person (people) you are with both feels and knows that they are a priority for you. If they matter, make sure they know it. Make sure that the connection between you is one that builds layers each time you are together and that the moments have meaning for you both.
Every human being needs a purpose in life and no matter who you speak to, you will get a similar response. A crucial sense of purpose that we all need is feeling connected to others and knowing that you matter to someone else.
So if someone matters to you - tell them. Show them! Make moments count and value your time and connections. Don’t leave things unsaid and undone. Live each day and be present in your life. Build emotional blocks to give you (and them) a sense of purpose - which is a basic human need for us all.
People are a pivotal part of life and a privilege – make them a priority.