Saturday, January 7, 2012

Family Connection pt. 2

There were two independent and equally contributing fctors in my realization of how to use the world to my advantage. The first was a book suggested to me years ago, the second an observation offered by family.

A few Chrismases ago in Toronto I asked my uncle Richard what books he had read or would recommend reading. Today still unsure if there had been others he had mentioned, the one I did make note of was The World Is Flat by Friedman. I purchased the book when I returned to Chicago and a few months later began to read it. I found the work to be quite interesting but at the time I simple wasn't yet a reader. When I lost the book to the closing of the restaurant I worked at I never made a legitimate attempt to replace it.

Fast forward to this last October. I was looking over the bookshelves in my kitchen and noticed that I had somehow acquired two copies of The World Is Flat. With Christmas and a reunion with my family right around the corner I decided it was once again time to pick up the book that had been recommended to me years ago.

It proved to be a wonderful choice. The book really cemented for me how flat the world is; in a nutshell it is that we are all interconnected to one another in multiple ways, and in those that we are not it is only by choice. It was a realization that I could use every medium to my advantage in order to create myself as a brand, so-to-speak. I focused my energy on creating a website in order to have an all inclusive, user friendly portfolio. If you are reading this now it is on my blog, which is linked to my site, which is linked to my Twitter, which is linked to my... well, you get the point.

The second incident that led to my discovery of the world's interconnectivity was a comment my aunt Liz had made to me in passing. We had somehow landed on the topic of my blog and she pointed out to me that when people commented on things that I had written or posted on it [my blog] that I never replied to them.

She was right.

I was the type of person that would love - and still do - when people would comment on things that I make available to them whether it be via website, blog, or Facebook. But I never took the oportunity to do the same for others. How can we expect what we are not willing to give?

I decided to reprioritize my life, my world, my time. There are so many ways to stay connected with the ones and things that matter most that it is only my own fault if I do not. There are so many ways, from Twitter to Blogging, Facebook to emails, and texts to phone calls that there is no reason that I cannot be actively involved in the lives and things of those that I care about, even from miles away.

The best part of Christmas was that it was as though no time had passed at all between the time before that we were all united. The only thing that I felt, as I often have since leaving home at eighteen, was that I was not privy to the details of the lives of the people I love, of my family. I cannot afford to continue to make such a mistake. By simply utilizing the things at my disposal I can enjoy a fantastic family storytime picture, a great new recipe, or simply hear the voice of my mother.

So instead of watching sports highlights or reading status updates of people I don't actually know I will instead spend that time and energy in what truly is a higher priority.


To digest all that is provided to me. If there is a blog post, a tweet, or text message I will know it. And in turn I will make my life as accessible as possible to those that want access to it. Through the flatening of the world I can and will live in the same house as my family each and every day.

But until February 6th I might be a little behind...

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Family Connection pt. 1

  I am not from South Carolina. My folks moved down to Charleston a few years back when my step-dad got a job there. For years since we have been always in commute to see one another, from Chicago, North Carolina, Seattle, Michigan, and back again in every which way. Christmas only added travel miles to the commute.

Since the death of my grandfather my mother and two aunts took it upon themselves to host Christmas for the entire family to get together. The way in which it worked out was that they would each take turns hosting the get togethers, rotating from one household to the others. One year we would get together in Toronto where my aunt Liz and Richard lived. The next year we'd get together in Windsor where my aunt Paula, uncle Dan and cousins lived. The year after that we would all congregate in Michigan where my mother, Harley and I had been from. Once Harley moved out of Michigan on contract work and I left to Chicago on affairs of the heart we both (Harley and I) had to truck back no matter where Christmas was being held.

When my mother finally moved down to Charleston it became that the three of us all had to commute back. But this year was different. Driven out of necessity due to the lack of space, my parents elected to arrange for the entire family to stay together at a large house in a town nearby their home in South Carolina.

It was beautiful. For the first time in any of our lives we lived with our entire family. Though every Christmas the entire family would get together, we would be spread out over additional family houses or hotels. By sharing a common house for 3 days and nights we lived together as a whole family.

Words cannot begin to describe the pure joy it evoked.

A friend recently asked me what had made the trip so wonderful and I was at a loss for words. We, uhh... had dinner together. And, um... got up together?.

"That's all? I don't get it. What else did you do?"

We watched that video of the ultimate dog teaser and repeated the lines from it continuously? We got to all do different stuff and still betogether with one another in some shape or mannor? Nick was there?

What can I say? It wasn't that we did something radical or experienced some event together that was all that memorable. It was just the mere fact that we did it together. I would wake up in the mornings to find different combinations of family members in different stages of their day in various parts of the house. Sometimes my mum and aunt Liz were busy in the kitchen preparing food and drink for everyone. Sometimes my Uncle Dan, Nick and two or three of my cousins were out enjoying the outdoor day. Sometimes Harley sat and read while my uncle Richard, Dan and I sat outside chatting.

We would go out in different groups throughout the day; my mum, Harley and I off to run an errand; my uncle Dan, Harley and I preparing the turkey and fixins'; my cousin Helina, my mum, aunt Paula, Liz and Richard together downtown. After the morning wake ups and at the end of each afternoon we would regroup; the eleven of us together. Each night we gathered for a meal as a whole family.

When it was time for me to leave (my flight being the day before the rest of the family's) I experienced an unexpected feeling of sadness and malaise. It wasn't that I hadn't expected to feel saddened leaving my family, but rather that I felt upset. I felt as though I was boarding a plane to Chicago it was taking me away from home. For the first time I felt like the first pie piece of pie cut must feel leaving the whole.

It was strange. Even if I lived closer to home - the Windsor, Detroit area - it would not be as though all of us would be living and staying together. Far from it. But something magical happened just by getting up and seeing my family in my home.

to be continued...