Ever think about calling that friend you used to talk to or haven’t seen for a while? There really isn’t a reason you don’t call, you really wonder how they are doing and imagine it would be nice to catch up, but it just doesn’t happen. You live in your routine, and they theirs. You barely wonder if they think about calling you. It is as if a forcefield keeps us from doing something about it. Oh, sometime I should call, but then sort of fall asleep to it or forget about it for a while…kind of like when there is a software update and you just click cancel over and over and are managing an awkward series of tech moves to do your work, but you are now numb because it has become a habit.
We settle into routines quickly as humans, and so do dogs from what I can tell so this is to be acknowledged and respected. My dog used to potty by the fence between the house in the apartment. But then she moved from the house to my apartment. Recently I had an epiphany, as I would take her out and she would pee, but not do her doggie business there anymore, preferring to run up or down, to a new area and poo. Maybe it was too close to where we live and play now for her to poo there, or just the overall change in routines, but I am glad I started noticing…she changed. She just has these two other spots now that we go to, for the most part. The patterns are strong. The patterns can change.
Sometimes our friends stop coming around or stop calling due to life circumstance, and we are so busy with our lives we don’t even notice. We are in our own patterns so much. Or we may notice how we are in our same habits with friends or coworkers, despite imagining things could be different, and it either feels good or bad, and it is the same arguments or issues or routines, yet it feels like it has inertia. At this point, at least we would be seeing that there is a pattern instead of simply becoming blind or being numb to it.
There is a word for one explanation for this phenomenon of what could be called a status quo — we don’t we just call each other up out of the blue instead of texting, or just check in with each other more. (Though I have to say, this morning I received an unexpected chat message from a colleague I worked with who I have not seen in months and don’t regularly chat. You can bet I thanked him for reaching out and told him it was good to connect. I was pleasantly surprised to see another person moving beyond their patterns to connect.)
As our life situation changes, then let’s hope we can help bend and be awake enough to stay connected, also as others are facing life changes, such moving, career changes, health issues, or other life milestones. These life changes are disruptive to existing habits and support, so they are an opportunity for new patterns and connection. Or even in more day to say examples, going out of our patterns and habitual ways being is an opportunity to further a little connection and kindness at times in what feels like a world where people are mostly so concerned with themselves that we let the door close on each other at the gas station. The secret is that connection serves everyone involved, so it is always a win-win too.
Maybe it is fear or other emotions or uncertainties holding us back from changing our patterns, especially social ones, and that is simply a reality at times.
At the same time, it can be pretty easy to reach out and make a call or check in on someone you’ve been thinking about. Or hold a door. Or write a letter. Or share some food. Or appreciation someone for something.