Once upon a time, I used to hassle friends about not keeping in touch.. until I found myself in their shoes.
In a time that is desperate to cater to your every need/want/demand on the spot and deliver electronically or right where you are, it’s too easy to live in a bubble.
Yes, I live in a bubble
sometimes most of the time. I like that I get consumed by work because it takes my mind off a whole lot of things and causes me to use my time judiciously.
But at the end of the day, when I swipe down from the top of my phone screen, I see how the world and my circles have passed by in the how many hours I’ve been happily submerged in something that requires very little socialising effort from me.
At work, I don’t have to go out of my way much to socialise. The people I’d engage in the process of socialising would often come there to the office and even sit in my front, making conversation and social engagement effortless.
Now, if all my social engagements took this format, I’d be the most social person I know 😀! But that’s not the case 🙄. In fact, I not only have to drag my ass out of bed when I’d rather hog my bed all day, but also have to get my groggy self in the shower, brush for almost 30 minutes, dress up half awake, fully wake up to do my makeup, try to justify why I’m neglecting my bed for another person 🤦🏾♀️. The stress is just too much.
Now, let me tell you the real stress. This is my own stress, at least. I live in Lagos, Nigeria. I don’t drive, I don’t Uber myself everywhere because I don’t live inside Central Bank of Nigeria’s vault. I try as much as possible to not go out during the day (08:00 and 20:00) so I don’t get into the lethal Lagos sun.
Even though I go out really early to work and I beat the sun to getting to work, I end up around really stinky people (I have overly sensitive olfactory organs) and I have phobia for unsolicited body contact, which is practically inevitable in Nigerian public transport. I’m always irritated by the bus drivers stopping everywhere (including inside potholes) to pick up even ghost passengers.
I leave work when the sun has long gone to bed so heat isn’t usually my cup of tea when I’m going home. But you see, waiting sometimes forever at my first connecting bus stop for a bus to come, only for it to be so already cramped that I have to squeeze myself in the middle of potentially smelly people is a death wish in itself. Most of the time, going home means hopping on four or five vehicles to get from my office to my house.
When I get home? 🧠💀. Literally. I’m so knackered I’m more likely to fall asleep inside my plate of food, if I even remember to eat. Lagos commute is ever draining for me. Drains my energy and will to load me with tiredness that’s beyond me. I hardly ever remember to return calls when I commute or even messages 😩! I always get people telling me, “You just forgot me”, “You didn’t even check up on me”, “Hello stranger”. I sincerely believe that that tiredness that overtakes me when I get home is uncanny.
Sometimes, I chastise myself and sit up on my bed at night, telling myself I’m going to call this person now or send them a message just to let them know that they’re on my mind. I wake up the next morning to see I didn’t charge my phone through the night.. then regretfully realising that I didn’t go through with the previous night’s plan, hence forgetting to plug my phone in overnight 🤦🏾♀️.
Then it’s morning and my phone is sometimes going off the hook with messages from people and I’m just cringing at not being able to message them back to say, “Hey, I’m engaged rn. Leave a message.” But then, if I message every single one of them back — you know how engrossing chatting can get 🙄 — I’ll end up getting distracted from my deliverables for the day.
The sad part is, this is my reality and all that stress is part of my life. I recently saw a Twitter post shared on Instagram where someone attested that “Adult friendships are hard. Everyone is busy and life happens”. But he also dropped a wisdom nugget which I’ve mentally adopted for a while now: texting people when you’re thinking of them and how it goes a long way. Like I said, it’s still a “mental” process for me 🙊. I’m learning.
Unless you have special circumstances that don’t afford you the opportunity to say no to that stress, at the end of the day, it’s left to you 🤷🏾♀️. But the reality is that so long as the person or people you’re going through all of that social stress for is/are worth it, that should be enough peace for us busy folks 🌝. Don’t waste your precious time on those whodon’t actually matter.