I kept observing him, thinking to what a degree this life of ours is truly so extraordinary and mysterious, how people join and separate like autumn leaves chased by a windy downpour, how we labor in vain to enable our glance to cling to the face, body, and gestures of the people we love, whereas in a few years we fail to remember any longer even whether their eyes were blue or black.
~Nikos Kazantzakis, Zorba the Greek
It’s that time of year again! The below was my original choice for our annual holiday card.
It got vetoed because you can’t see the dog, Paul appears to have lost muscle function in part of his face, our first child looks like she needs to be exorcised, and our second child is not looking at the camera. Bummer.
I love sending out holiday cards. I love getting them.
Every year as I make the list of who to send them to, by stage of life: Childhood. College. Grad school. This city. That job.
I’ve always been a little bit sentimental about how transient relationships can be. It’s bittersweet that someone who seems so crucial in your life can fade to a hazy memory.
Social media has changed this, in ways both good and bad. Those people no longer disappear into a vortex. You know where they live, what they’re doing, how they look. You no longer have to remember their eye color, just go check their most recent selfie.
But social media platforms can also alter the context of your relationship. I don’t need in-depth knowledge of my ex-roommate’s beliefs on circumcision or whether an old teammate thinks I should change my skin care routine. Because I haven’t seen either of them in years, and sometimes all that matters is that I still smile remembering the time they made me laugh so hard I threw up. Regardless of their feelings on Harambe.
So I like the cards. A quick snapshot of the present without additional, unsolicited commentary. I like to make the list, think of all those people without being prompted by my Facebook feed. It is nice to see how much has changed and not changed over the years, to look up at my actual wall, see all the people I love, and be reminded of just how fortunate I have been.
(For the record, that is only a portion of the cards we have waiting to be hung. We are more popular than that. I swear.)