My father recently replied to an email I'd written weeks before; as to the late reply, he said that he was confused about the issue of "family connectedness" I'd mentioned. He didn't explain his confusion, but I suspect that he wonders whether I've inherited from him a tendency to be less connected.
This is a subject I've pondered in various ways throughout the years. A movie I watched a few months ago caused me to revisit the subject in a new light. The movie, "Giant Mechanical Man", depicts a culture in which people, in general, are difficult to connect with. Everyone wears earbuds; they listen to material on electronic gadgets rather than to anyone else, and no one is available for others.
What I realized while watching is: that's me. I listen to audiobooks every day. I walk to work with earbuds nestled in, and I regularly go out to restaurants while listening to stories, too. I even listen to stories while grocery shopping, and while I'm out running. I'm not doing it to avoid others, yet I wonder whether it's a habit that aids in my tendency to be less connected. Technology is the new evil because it separates us; on the other hand, it's nothing new that being separate is "worrisome."
Maybe I should make myself available to friends and family more often than I do, but I don't think I have a responsibility to make myself available to the entire world. If someone wants to talk with me, I'm not going to avoid them. I welcome it. I'm not trying to ignore people, nor am I callous. While I'm not motivated to create or maintain as many as others might like, I do desire meaningful connections. I may want fewer, but the deeper they are the better.
In a way, I find that it helps that I listen to stories. It helps me to understand myself and the world. It gives me a way to connect with others -- with something that I care about: good stories. And what's the point in sharing stuff unless I care about it?
What's the point in being connected unless I mean it?