Pen Pals

There’s a certain romance about the thought of a pen friend. I grew up in the generation when pen friends were just going out of fashion. The world of internet and email had just come about and the rage was all about ‘chat friends’ in online chat rooms.

Either way, I’ve always thought the idea is very cool because it appeals to imagination. You know, you don’t really know the person. All you have done is engaged in a lot of dialogue. You might have spoken about life, your beliefs, your values and of the many things that you care about. You are almost forced to be trusting because there’s no way forward if you don’t believe the person on the other end is genuine.

There’s true romance in that experience, in my book. And when I say romance, I don’t mean the kind that precedes conventional relationships, but the fascination and enthusiasm that we feel when we are dealing with that incredible mix of mystery and imagination, almost like magic. It must have been the case with pen friends. And, with technology enabling us to have access to information at all times, god knows we could do with a bit of that magic in our lives..

Today, of course, a bit of that romance is lost. You can search a person out on the internet and tell whether he’s/she’s bull shitting you. That said, all your online searching generally reveal only the tip of the iceberg. Dialogue is a lot deeper and there’s only so much you’ll be able to find online. Unless, of course, this  person runs a daily blog that results in him/her practically sharing her life. But, in my limited experience, such morons are few and far between.

For the most part, there is still a lot of romance in the process. And that’s been the driver behind one my bigger obsessions of late. Regulars here will have identified themes over time – for instance, many of my posts over the last two weeks have been about focusing on strengths. Another such obsession over the past few weeks has been on building a community here, thanks to my experiences with the community at AVC.

Yesterday, I had more reason to justify this obsession. I met one of the members of the AVC community for lunch yesterday. She’s also an occasional visitor here and we’ve known for a while that we both live in London. We’d discussed meeting up and eventually got around to doing it. It was a fantastic experience. And I was describing it to a close friend who said ‘Ah! It’s like meeting a pen friend!’.

That nailed it! It was indeed like meeting a pen friend. Isn’t it amazing to meet somebody you’ve interacted with a fair bit online, in real life? I can’t wait to meet the rest of those I interact with so much over comments at AVC, on their own blogs and here even.

I have realized  over time that it takes a lot to stop and comment at a post. I went 3 years without ever commenting on a single post I read. And yet, funnily enough, it meant the world to me when I had a comment on my blog. (It still does!) I’m a tad slow on the uptake, but I’m still surprised this took me so long.

Eventually, I got there and nowadays, it’s reached a point where I hardly ever read a post without commenting. I don’t always have something of great value to add but sometimes, it’s just about letting the fellow blogger know that I’ve stopped by and I wanted to say a hello. You know, the kind of quick visit you might pay a close neighbor who you like.

And I realize I’ve been fortunate to have some old and new friends pop by every once in a while here and say ‘hello’. From Fred’s numbers, I see 1 in every 100 typically pops by to say hello. I’ve been luckier here, every once in a while. Thank you.. It means a lot! It’s lovely getting to know you. And for those who have stopped by every once in a while, I hope it will be more often. And for those who haven’t shown up yet, thanks for teaching me to be patient…

Because, following my lunch with my pen pal, I truly the felt the potential power of this experience.

We all meet each other over the ether, every day. Sometimes the communication is one way and yet, sometimes, it’s both ways. That said, we all still meet. Many of you have chosen to share your own experiences, thoughts, beliefs over this space. I’ve obviously known many of you personally and yet, increasingly, I’m meeting many with whom the acquaintance has been entirely thanks to optic fibre and, in some cases, air waves. Isn’t that incredible?

To think that one day we could all get together and meet ‘in real life‘ – that thought never fails to inspire me. It would be like magic!

We’ll get there.

Have a great weekend, folks! :-)