I wanted to message as many of you as possible personally, but I left it a bit late (it’s already 22:30 here).
In what appears to be a common experience for everyone, I’ve also been quite bad at keeping up with your messages recently, many of them too detailed and lovely for a quick response. Even though we have lots of free time and are suffering from a chronic lack of social contact, we’ve all been shying away from people rather than reaching out, either digitally or in the analogue world. C****-19 seems to have intensified our contact with just a few core friends, while the rest have fallen by the wayside. Often despite our best intentions and our craving for contact, the thought of actually initiating fills us with dread.
Often somebody occurs to us during the day, and we’d love to ask how they’re doing or even just send them a meme or a link we think they might like, only to see, to our horror, that we haven’t replied to their detailed and sometimes heartfelt message from weeks or months ago – oops! The guilt builds, the prospect of sending a proper reply fills us with anxiety, and a cycle of procrastination results. Somebody has put themselves on the line and opened up to us, and we didn’t even acknowledge them! Which is a shame… because often it’s people we actually like quite a lot but don’t talk to regularly that are the ones who are the most difficult to answer.
There’s always the trick of messaging them via a different app of course, one on which we were the last one to message, but isn’t that just so silly? I’ve realised it’s more important to write something and keep the friendship going than to write the perfect message. Most of the time people don’t mind. They are just happy to hear from you. And anyway, if your message is too good, you can bet they’ll take ages to respond.
Real life encounters used to wipe the slate clean and render the unanswered messages out of date. We could send a link or photo relevant to the analogue encounter and the thread would continue again quite naturally. But without this frequent and natural contact, conversations are left frozen in digital limbo. I’ve come to the conclusion that humans aren’t really designed for digital relationships. This all feels unnatural because it is.
And if none of this makes sense to you, then you’re either a wonderful person and the perfect friend, or you’re a loser and you need to get more friends.
Anyway, that rant was a bit longer than I intended. Basically, if you’re reading this, I want you to know that I care about you, and I want you to be happy. 🥰 You might be anything from someone I would trust with my life to an acquaintance or weekend travel buddy, but in any case, I frequently think about all of you, the funny things you said and did, the beautiful moments we shared, and the mark you have left on my life over the past few years. Many of you are a great source of inspiration to me!
At first I thought sending a message to multiple people at once would be too impersonal, but then I realised it raised an interesting philosophical question: What would I write if I were writing to everyone? This is my attempt to answer that question, and if you’re reading this it means I made it to the end and decided to send it.
Just a quick update. I’m moving into a new place in Berlin in February, where I plan to stay for the immediate foreseeable future, and I’d love to hang out with you there, so come visit! And if our paths don’t manage to cross this year, I welcome all of your messages, thoughts, ideas, worries, fears, photos, videos, voice notes, emojis, memes and links to fake news.
The past 661 days have caused significant upheaval and hardship in all of our lives. But much like a forest fire, which destroys everything in its path, it also leaves plenty of space for new growth. The ashes of the lost leave the ground fertile for the new – new projects, new jobs, new cities, new friendships, new relationships, new ideas, new dreams.
I sincerely wish you (yes you!) all the best for this coming year of regrowth. I hope to see as many of you as possible in 2022 and look forward to shared moments, ideas, experiences and adventures.
Happy New Year!
Frohes Neues Jahr!
Feliz Año Nuevo!
Bonne année !
Feliz Ano Novo!
Szczesliwego Nowego Roku!
Yeni Yılınız Kutlu Olsun!
Athbhliain faoi mhaise duit!
Gëzuar Vitin e Ri!
С Новым годом!
З новим роком!
سنه جديده سعيده