Almost a year ago to the day I was writhing around in pain, rocking on all fours, and praying for death. At that moment, death seemed like the only conceivable exit from the intractable pain I was embroiled in. Just to give you an idea of how intense the pain was; giving birth while on a bed of nails would have seemed like a day at the beach, but that’s fodder for another story.
Following the surgery, was one of the few times in my life that I was temporarily forced to disengage from work and yes, that meant disengage from cell phones, computers, IPADs and all forms of e-mail. As I lay on my bed recuperating my mind began to wander. I am someone who by definition is a workaholic. Let me clarify that. I am always engaged and plugged in to my customers as well as my colleagues. Quick turnaround time is my personal mantra….. That was until then. As I lay on my bed, the flight of ideas and loose associations cascaded into my consciousness like crescendoing tidal waves looking for a port in the storm. I began to idly surf the internet until I happened upon Facebook. Now….. I joined Facebook a few years ago but was basically inactive. Every once in a while I’d re-post something, like if a particular post caught my eye, or I’d share a cartoon, quotation, or an article that I thought was inspirational, funny or just worth sharing. Then I’d disappear from FB for the next several months or years never giving it another thought.
All of a sudden my time was my own. I had no expectations of myself and more importantly no one had any expectations of me. What a novel position to find myself in. As I scrolled through the friend requests, names that I had not seen in over 40 years leaped off the page. Looking through this new FB lens was eye opening. Peeking into the lives of friends from elementary school, high school and nursing school was unfathomable yet exhilarating. Seeing the men and women they grew up to be, and not just in the physical sense, gave me the same feeling of satisfaction and joy one gets when turning the last page of a wonderful novel and in this case, the story does not end.
Whether you are an avid FB, Pinterest, Instagram, or other social media aficionado, the connection to the world is infinite. The six degrees of separation adage could not be truer since the advent of today’s internet community. The ability to reach out and touch old friends, as if no time has passed, is mind boggling. Sites such as Meet Up, Tinder, Match, just to name a few, are venues that enable you to connect with new friends and explore new experiences. The internet has its place but it does not replace the value and benefit of human interaction. Social engagement such as meeting friends at the gym, playing cards or going out to dinner is far more important to sustaining human life than spending all of your time pressing keys on a keyboard. Balance, as in all things, is instrumental in maximizing overall physical and mental health.
As evidenced by my sudden and unexpected surgical procedure last year, life can throw you some unexpected curve balls but it’s not the curve ball that’s the issue it’s how we react to that curve ball that is key. In the last year, I’ve rekindled old friendships, started to blog in earnest, and even had dinner with my VBF from elementary school. I have to say that prior to this experience I had, what I considered a full and wonderful life, but with the new connections I’ve made through social media and the internet I’ve opened myself up to endless possibilities.