I had a pretty rough October this year and, being an introvert, when things are bad, I tend to retreat into my own little world and ignore everyone. This works for me for the most part, but when it goes on too long, it becomes unhealthy. And so one Saturday last month, my friends suggested a little morning hike that I agreed to because I knew I needed to be social and get out of my own head. Plus, I knew some of them had been going through some of their own personal turmoil, so I wanted to catch up. Somehow our simple plan expanded from just a hike into also lunch, a party involving wall sits and physical therapy giveaways, shopping, dinner, lots of beer, and a comedy show…a twelve hour day. For someone like me, that’s a lot of time to spend with other people and not have any downtime in between. But when I went finally home, I realized that had been exactly what I needed, and I was so grateful to have friends I enjoy spending days like that with.
After that long preamble, the real meat of this post is an anecdote about something these same friends did last year that meant more to me than they likely understand. For them, it was probably a small thing to do, but for me, it was a powerful act of caring that makes me ever thankful that they are in my life, so it feels appropriate to share today.
Without further ado…
I went to China for Christmas and New Year’s 2018, partly because I already had a visa that I wanted to use before my passport expired and partly because I simply didn’t want to be hanging around Colorado for the holidays when I was single and all my friends were in relationships. Western social media (Twitter, Facebook, What’sApp, etc) is blocked in China, which was fine with me. I could have downloaded some kind of VPN app onto my phone to circumvent the censorship, but why? Vacation is a chance to get away from it all. I could live without all that nonsense for 12 days. I also never bother with an international cell phone plan when I travel. I don’t see the need, especially when there is wi-fi everywhere. So I told everyone not to expect to hear from me until I got back, and I wished them Merry Christmas and Happy New Year and all that.
But I did download the Chinese app, WeChat, so I could stay connected to tour guides and pay for things and read menus and, well, exist in China because China runs on WeChat. When I got to my hotel in Beijing my first night in China and connected to the wi-fi, I noticed that I had some messages and new connections on WeChat. And what do you know…it was all my Colorado friends. They had downloaded the app and made accounts to stay in touch with me while I was gone. I hadn’t asked them to, hadn’t mentioned it, and yet, there they were. Yes, I cried a little. Like I said, I enjoy my own company and was thrilled to take that trip by myself. But when the important people your in life do that little something to let you know they are thinking about you…yeah, that got me in the feels and it’s something I still think about when I’m feeling a little down.
The moral of the story is that whatever small act of kindness or affection or outreach you are considering, go for it. You never know how much it might mean to the recipient.
Now, on with the gluttony!