Sunday January 13, 2013
Catching up is hard to do
By Soo Ewe Jin
It may be diplomatic to promise to catch up with friends, but make sure you really find time to do so before it is too late.
WHEN someone says, “Let’s catch up one of these days”, without specifying the time, you can be sure the day will never come.
A friend posted this on his Facebook and I have to agree with him. He is a man who is always on the go, and I am sure the “catch-up” phrase is very much a part of his life.
I first met him outside a hospital in Subang Jaya. I was waiting for a taxi after visiting a friend, and he came up by my side, in his spiffy white Beemer, rolled down the window, and called me by name.
I was surprised because he was a total stranger to me. Well, apparently, I was not a stranger to him because apart from being a fan of Sunday Starters, he also knew some of my friends, which included my relatives as well.
He offered me a lift and suggested lunch along the way. I was impressed. It is rare that a chance encounter would develop into a meaningful conversation over lunch where we do not even look at the clock.
Chances are, if you were to bump into someone you know along the busy highway of life, you may exchange a few pleasantries, and then say that diplomatic phrase, “Let’s catch up one of these days.”
Like most people working and living in the Klang Valley, my schedule is often full. But whether it is full by choice or by circumstances, it surely cannot be so inflexible that it is unable to accommodate any unexpected appointment.
Is your attendance at an after-work meeting, for example, so vital that it cannot be interrupted for a friend who wants to catch up with you?
I have written many times in this column about how we are blessed with the same 24 hours in a day, yet our lives can all be so different depending on how we use those precious hours.
All of us are not only getting older by the day, but basically inching closer to the end of our life.
If we do not catch up with the people who matter, and the things that are truly important, the day will come when it will be impossible to do so.
Like many from my generation, we grew up at a time when we expect friends and relatives to drop by unannounced, the same way we also drop in on them without any prior appointment.
We seem to have lost that and I think we are the poorer for it.
Some of us are so busy that even when a friend is not well, we have to weigh other factors first before deciding if we can spare the time to visit.
Our relationships with people are about moments that we will one day be able to treasure. Without real interactions, such moments, even when shared, are at best superficial.
I have heard speeches at weddings and funerals where I sometimes wonder if the best man or the eulogist really know about the person they are talking about.
To be able to share, we must really have lived through the experience of connecting with people up close and personal.
And catching up is one of the best ways to do it. If we can find the time.
> Deputy executive editor Soo Ewe Jin (firstname.lastname@example.org) thinks he looks spiffy with the new picture byline, though he certainly has aged since the last picture was taken.