It seems, to me, like a long time ago, but it has been only four years.
I used to go out with a guy – and then eventually had gotten attached to – who blogged. He was a real geek. He knew about almost everything. He was a gamer, an enthusiast, and I learned a lot from his love for the things he really loved. He was a football player, a straight A student, a gamer, a napper, a writer and he had time for me. I was amazed by how much he juggled tasks so easily. I learned later, a year or so after he broke up with me, that he pursued his education abroad. Of all the guys I had gone out with, he was the only one I really admired.
I am the type of person who learns silently from people and doesn’t tell them. I don’t know if humans deserve to be told that you have learned from them, or if it’s just another form of flattery. I emailed him once last year after I was searching in my inbox for a specific email with my CV attached and I landed on a message from him that dated back to 2012. I smiled, and emailed him, as I was saying. I was extremely nice and polite, and he was his usual arrogant self, not that I was surprised or anything…
Quick note: last week my laptop returned to life after two years of a heart attack, which is how I had found a folder under his name on my desktop. I opened it and found things him and I had saved from searches. I also found this, from a blogpost he had written ages ago, saved in a notepad:
“Don’t be afraid to be a fool. Remember, you cannot be both young and wise. Young people who pretend to be wise to the ways of the world are mostly just cynics. Cynicism masquerades as wisdom, but it is the farthest thing from it. Because cynics don’t learn anything. Because cynicism is a self-imposed blindness, a rejection of the world because we are afraid it will hurt us or disappoint us. Cynics always say no. But saying yes begins things. Saying yes is how things grow. Saying yes leads to knowledge. “Yes” is for young people. So for as long as you have the strength to, say yes.”
I figured that he, too, just like I did, made the effort to remind people that they’re special.
I got into the habit of sending out a reminder of that sort to twenty or so of my contacts. Back in October, I figured that since one of Facebook’s main personal functionalities was to help people connect, it was time I reach out to a few of the one thousand plus contacts I have. I wrote a note on a paper, snapped it, and sent the photo to twenty people. I chose five close people, five I haven’t met in person, five ex colleagues and five acquaintances. The best thing on earth was that I received it, two hours later, from a friend as a private message too! I was thrilled that the note served its purpose and went beyond that: it circulated. I wore a smile all day feeling that I really did bridge a gap between me and those twenty people. A week later, I made the same effort with thirty people. Ten of the previous list, five current colleagues, five ex classmates, and ten friends. The sad news – and yes believe it or not there is sad news here – was that seven of those thirty thought I sent it by mistake to them, three who never responded, and another two asked me who I received it from and why I am sending it to them. Twelve out of thirty. It did leave me upset.
I am planning on making this regular, especially that I had received eighteen private messages in 2015 from Facebook contacts saying that they liked my profile. It leaves me feeling nice, no ego boost whatsoever. The purpose of me writing and sharing and making all this effort is that I truly believe I am leaving a mark. That is the only difference I wish to make.