Hello, Old Friends

Since 2018, I’ve always chosen a word at the beginning of the year as the central point to focus on my effort for that particular year.

In 2018, I moved to Gothenburg, Sweden, and I chose ‘root’ for the word that year. It was apt; I needed to put down roots in this new place in a new country, with a new culture and new people. In 2019, I chose the word ‘bloom’. As I’d established the foundation the previous year, I switched gears to growing in and improving some aspects of my new life in Sweden. I focused on improving my Swedish, growing my career, and being a part of Swedish society.

For this year, I chose the word ‘nurture’. I’ve had pretty significant success with choosing a word of intention each year and sticking to it. The 2 words I chose in 2018 and 2019 guided me to stay in the right direction whenever I started to go astray. And now I can navigate life in Sweden at ease (most of the time at least), my Swedish has improved, and I’m satisfied with where I’m at in my career.

But as I worked hard on these things in the last 2 years, some areas in my life were neglected, or didn’t get enough attention as they should. One of those is my relationships with friends and family.

And that’s why 2020 is the year that I’m working on it; nurturing it.

Adult friendships are different. We no longer have the luxury of the same schedule and timeline, or living in the same place. Proximity, which we used to take for granted, is not something that we always have. Our goals bring us to different places, with different people, at different paces. Each of us has grown in the years since the first time we’ve met. We’re no longer the same people, and at least for me, we don’t live in the same city (and country). It’s inevitable that we grow apart — some too much, some just a little. Relationships, especially long-distance ones, need work. We can’t expect it to thrive without putting in the time, attention, and care for it.

Since the beginning of this year, I’ve started making more effort to get in touch with my old friends. Some of them I hadn’t talked to in years; and with others, we just exchanged occasional memes, followed with short conversations afterward. But this Easter weekend, I talked to more friends than I’d done in months. Long, deep conversations that lasted more than 1 hour. And it felt really, really good. As I saw their faces on my tiny screen, I was transported back to the late nights some years ago, where we talked exactly like this. My heart swelled with longing — for them, for the old times, and for a wish that we could meet again and do this face-to-face. And every time we ended the video call, I found myself thinking, I wish I’d done this sooner.

The intention to reconnect has always been there, it’s just a shame that I never actually, really made the time until the global pandemic hit the world and I found myself with more time at home. It’s also a much-needed slap for me, that I need to set aside time to work on these relationships, and not just squeeze it between my activities, in whatever time I have left.

So, hello old friends. I promise I’ll do better this time.

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  • Reply Mira Afianti

    Hi Dixie, thanks for sharing this.Lately, I realized that I kinda ‘lost’ some of them, simply because I hate to be the one that is always make a move to connect. I guess I just feel tired of all rejection, as you know, it’s HARD to meet your friend in person as we have different routines now. So thanks! It inspires me to connect more with my friends.

    April 16, 2020 at 7:45 am
    • Reply Dixiezetha

      Hi Mira, I’m glad this inspires you to connect more with your friends. I’ve had similar experience, it’s really hard to meet up, people are busy with different schedules. Things were starting to slip away and that’s why I wanted to put more effort into that. Hope we can manage it 🙂

      April 21, 2020 at 3:57 pm
  • Reply chiceniza

    Aku pun demikian Dixie, malah si pandemi ini yang bikin aku jadi lebih say-hi-say-hi dengan teman lama dan inisiatif ketemuan online sama temen2x nun jauh di sana (karena aku selalu merasa bukan tipe yang video call/ facetime). Etapi ternyata cukup menikmati interaksi ini x)

    Sehat-sehat di sana yaah…!

    April 17, 2020 at 5:02 pm
    • Reply Dixiezetha

      Iyaa, salah satu silver lining dari kejadian ini yaa, dikasih kesempatan banyak buat ngehubungin temen2 lama lagi. Jarak udah ga ngaruh lah, thanks to technology hahaa.

      Thank you ya Chicaaa, stay safe juga yaah.

      April 21, 2020 at 3:58 pm
  • Reply Lorraine

    I am doing the same Dixie. I regularly checking upon my friends by calling them during this pandemic. Hope your, mine and we are all stay healthy.

    April 19, 2020 at 10:11 am
    • Reply Dixiezetha

      Thank you Mbak. Yes, hope we can get through this safely.

      April 21, 2020 at 3:59 pm
  • Reply aggy87

    Such a great idea to have a word to focus on each year, Dixie. I think it’s better than having a bunch of resolutions that I seem to forget by the third month or so. I find that during this pandemic, I was able to reflect on myself more, working on myself. I haven’t been on calls with a lot of my friends though, just my family and a few close friends that I regularly keep in touch with. Hope you stay well over there!

    April 22, 2020 at 3:29 am
    • Reply Dixiezetha

      Yes, I used to have a list of targets to hit every year but that didn’t always work. It’s good that you could reflect on yourself more during this time. I see lots of people doing that as well, learning new skills or trying something new, or keeping what they’d been doing before but with more chance to focus on it. Stay safe and take care ya Gy <3

      April 27, 2020 at 7:18 pm

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