There’s been a quiet absence in my life for a while now. It’s something that I’ve only realised recently but it has been gone for quite some time.
Life is so busy. There’s rushing to and from work, work itself, crèche drop offs and pick ups, shopping to be done, dinners to be made, stories to be read, tickles to be delivered, swimming lessons to go to, extended family commitments, juggling different work schedules, trying to get some exercise in, all those things. Life at full speed – as life is, you might say.
But then I realised the other day I don’t really have that many conversations any more. I’m not talking about the daily banter in the office or at home, because there’s plenty of that. I’m talking about the conversations just that one level deeper – the ones where you trash out the big ideas of the day. Like fisticuffs over politics and social policy. Or life philosophies found at the bottom of a shared bottle of wine. Or the self-reflective conversations that slowly emerge after some quality time spent in good company.
The closest I get to anything like that these days is in private groups on Facebook, either with seemly likeminded people all arguing points on the same perspective, or with people who I have no information about, save their profile picture and whatever information you can glean from their changing cover photo and limited public posts. The missing element from those conversations of course is that sense of tangible connection.
There just isn’t time really, is there?
Being a mum, a wife, a daughter, a sister, a working woman is all consuming. You’ll see I don’t have friend listed there, because I really don’t feel like I’m a particularly present friend these days. Check-ins are by group WhatsApps or occasional emails, a personal text here and there, a quick mid-week lunch if we can get away from the office for an hour. Phone calls are a thing of the past. Where in my day is there 20 undivided minutes to make an uninterrupted call, and how many people have the same 20 minutes to receive it?
It’s not a huge thing really. I just miss it. I find myself having the conversations in my head instead. Or right here on the blog. Which isn’t great because I’m always going to agree with myself so that’s unlikely to broaden my horizons. I comfort myself in the belief that it’s just a phase and in a few years’ time I’ll be up for air – hopefully at the same time as my favourite conversationalists – and we can pick up where we left off.