It has been such a long time since we could even think about doing things in person “together.” With the promise that is coming with vaccinations, Rebecca’s thoughts on what we can infuse our being together with going forward is really timely.
by Rebecca Crichton, Seattle, Washington
Back in the ‘Olden Days Before Covid,’ I delivered presentations to real audiences about how to stay engaged and healthy as we age. I always shared the six elements for general well-being. I said that if people had these things in their lives, they were probably doing pretty well.
- Something to do
- Something to look forward to
- Something to believe in
- Something/someone to love
- Something to laugh about
- Something to keep you moving/active
These principles have helped me stay centered in my own scaled-down life. These past months have provided ample opportunity for reflection and learning about my own identity in relationship to the groups I belong to and the various communities I support.
I am talking broadly here, not just about the political spectrum that required action and financial contributions but more personally as well. I ask myself who I am and what I want to be in the relationships I have. How do I nurture them? Which ones need to be changed or ended? Who else, and for what reasons, would I reach out to establish new ones?
I know the definition of Culture used in Intercultural Relations: “Culture – the behaviors, beliefs, values, attitudes and assumptions held by a group of people.” Culture is passed along by communication and imitation from one generation to the next. A culture is a way of life of an interacting group of people.
Those are powerful concepts when confronted and applied directly to our own lives. I look at some of the elements of my own ‘diversity’: White, Female, New Yorker, Jewish, Middle-class, Educated, Extrovert, Writer, Mother, Sister. I know how each of those can serve as a lens for how I see the world. With that awareness, I can no longer think that how I see the world is necessarily shared by others. I am careful not to generalize about how ‘everybody’ feels or sees things. How could I? Why should I?
As I search for a new paradigm that can shape my behavior going forward, my ‘claptrap’ brain remembers an odd piece of behavior from the days when we circled round tables in Chinese restaurants. The fortune cookies would arrive with the cut-up oranges and the check. We would take turns reading them out loud to each other, adding the words “…in bed.” It was always funny: “You will experience great success…in bed!” “A special surprise awaits you…in bed!” It always got a laugh and the occasional blush.
I’m applying the add-a-word concept to the six items mentioned above. The word I invite us to add to those sentences is, ‘Together.’
I like the way it sounds: We would do something together. We would be looking forward to something together. We would have a shared purpose or belief together. We would love and be loved together. We would laugh together. We would find ways to move and stay active together.
Now that I think about it, it captures some of what I already do with friends and family. Now I just need to extend the approach and apply it with others with whom I want to build relationships.