“Family Matters”, in These “Strange Times”
00:48 CAT. No sleep in sight and I know I am going to pay for it when I get “go” to work tomorrow (remotely, of course). The worst thing about this insomnia experience is that three hours later, Kevin Hart’s words are still ringing in my mind. Stay with me here, let me explain why…
I’m a big fan of the Joe Rogan Experience (JRE) podcast. From the variety of topics, Joe and his guests discuss, to the freedom in which they have to unpack their thoughts, past or present experiences and the candid moments in between — this combination makes for a rather interesting few hours of authentic thought-provoking conversations. Tonight was no different, with Kevin Hart as is his guest on JRE #1480. Kevin is a regular on the podcast, but tonight, Joe touched on his road to recovery and asked whether he struggled to manage his career, family and relationships, following his near-death experience. To which, Kevin then responded, “…Not after the accident. That was the best eye-opener for me. I was married to my career and dating my family”.
“…I was married to my career and dating my family”.
What a strong statement because it’s not exclusive to careers, but virtually any other aspects of our lives that affect the relationships we have with our loved ones negatively. In my case, I am married to constant worry, situations I can’t change and the voices in my head that make me doubt myself which is affecting my confidence, quality of work output (professional or personal) and finding comfort under this rock I’m under, sometimes. This only fuels my withdrawal from the world. I have to be grateful to have a great set of parents, a loving partner, the best siblings and the most terrific friends that pull me out of it.
By nature, humans are social creatures. Without meaningful relationships, we could literally die. Blood-relation, alone, is not the epitome of a meaningful relationship but simply refers to a bond, comfort and equal exchange of value between individuals. In my opinion, that’s the true definition of a meaningful relationship. With the global pandemic wreaking havoc on the world right now, it isn’t making it easier to maintain our existing connections (or start new ones).In the week building up to our first family Zoom call, my Dad mentioned something along the lines of, “…just because the world is changing, doesn’t mean we can’t adjust to our new reality and continue building on our bonds. In this age, with all this technology, we have no excuse not to do so in our family…”. The result? The best 1.5 hours I have had on a Sunday in the longest time. I consider this to be one of those nuggets of wisdom he nonchalantly passes on in building me to be a great dad to my daughter. Funnily enough, I am not too sure if he’s aware of it either.
Once again: “…I was married to my career and I was dating my family…”.
This statement can mean a million different things to a million different people. For me, it simply means that we’re currently in Strange Times (Rogan? Strange Times? Netflix special? See what I did there?) and it’s only going to negatively affect the connections we have built, further. Only if we allow it to. The day-to-day crap we’re caught up in, the further isolation we’re forced into (e.g. social distancing, remote working, etc) and the changing face of society will not be any easier moving forward. These things we get caught up in will never end, honestly. There’s always some new shit-storm waiting for you around the corner, problems that arise from change and the confusion in navigating your life as you hit certain age brackets/stages. But you know what is a constant? Family. Again, not just referring to blood-relation alone.
Now, more than ever, we need each other, we need to reach out to our people to remind them they’re not alone, and importantly, we need to sympathise/empathise (as best as we can) with our loved ones to maintain our family units. Change is constant and is necessary. But bonds? Connections? They last a lifetime (remember, without them, we’d literally die). Don’t marry the things you can’t change, your vices, your profession, voices in your head or various toxicities we face daily, at the expense of your relationships. Most times, they’re the ones to pull out from under that rock you’re finding comfort under. Most times, only they can.
To prevent any further rambling, let me close with this: Practice social distancing, not social isolation.