If this self-isolation has granted us as humans anything, it’s time. Time to remember, time to reflect, time to reconnect – time, the one universal commodity that nobody ever seemed to have enough of.
Now, we have more time than we know what to do with, and with so many fewer activities to actually do.
Gone are the days of commuting.
Gone are the days of brunch at your favorite local spot.
Gone are the days of social obligations (and being able to make up excuses to get out of them).
Yet, all of that has been replaced, time giving way to time, just now consumed in different ways.
Longer phone conversations or FaceTimes.
Longer scheduled Zoom calls with friends and family you’ve never talked to so much.
More and more emails and chats with people you haven’t thought about in years, yet people who at one point in your life were important for whatever reason.
I’ve never been good at keeping in touch or maintaining past relationships. I’ve reasoned over the years that as much as I revel in the memories of times not forgotten – simply filed away for the day when a scent or glimpse or an old name or voice conjures them again – I very much live in the present.
And I think I put the past I had with people out of mind selfishly to avoid the feeling that keeping up with them has become a chore to stave off decay. I like to think about the past in a more positive sense, though, letting the memories age in a dignified, respected way; at least that’s how I always think about – not necessarily concerned with how people are doing; more what we had and how good it was.
I recently took a trip down memory lane with the leader of my Philmont expedition Jim Rapp who reached out to me after nearly 20 years. Philmont, a Boy Scout reservation in Cimarron, New Mexico that spans thousands of miles, remains one of the most formative experiences of my life.
Catching up with Jim, saying the names of guys I had not thought about in well over a decade, recapitulating memories so distant they could’ve been someone else’s reminded me of a much simpler time.
When there was a destination and a goal – hiking over 80 miles miles in 110+ degree heat with a thirty pound pack over the course of 10 days – and that was it.
What a time to be alive that was.
Be better than me. Reach out to someone from the past. You’ll be surprised how much hope it’ll give for the future – for both of you.