Thom Yorke once said that the most important thing in life for him was heart-felt communication with others and it’s something I strongly believe in too. Come 50 years from now I’ll most likely be dead. Buried six feet underground in a few planks of wood. A headstone saying something like “Here lies John Conners, may we all rest in peace as he won’t be publishing to his website any more!”. From that point of view the only things I can have achieved that will make any difference is the lives of those I affected along the way. We all tend to adopt personality traits and attitudes from those around us and pass them on to others. So in a small way the fact that you’re reading this may change you in an almost imperceptible way which you may in turn pass on to a few other people and by remote control I’ve affected them without ever meeting them or having any contact with them.
I find it important to put a bit of effort in to maintain friendships with people I care about and connect with. But it’s hard. Especially when you move away from them, or they move away from you. Sure, there are plenty of people that I wouldn’t mind never seeing again – most of the people I went to school with for example (whose names I have long since forgotten) – but there are many that I do. The trouble is time. It’s very difficult to maintain any meaningful contact with all the people I want to, and I mean more than sending a Christmas card every year. When I go back to visit my family in Scotland for a weekend there are a lot of people I’d like to visit, but with just 2 days and my father and brother to see, there just isn’t time. Fortunately some are en-route so I can drop in on my way past but there are others who I promise myself “I’ll call them next time” but never get around to. It’s something that pains me from time to time, but I know it’s a part of life.
There is a consolation however.
Take Gary Douglas for example. He was a chef for the hotel I worked at during my student years and he’s the man responsible for the fact that I love mountain biking. He dragged me all over the country and over seemingly impossible climbs and descents and introduced me to the joys of the adrenaline rush. I’d never been interested in mountain biking until I met him and I’ve never looked back since. He moved down south to Birmingham and while we stayed in touch for a time he eventually vanished off the face of the earth, leaving no way to contact him. His positive mental attitude, love for life and desire to make the most out of it certainly rubbed off on me and if you’re a regular reader then you may see it rub off on you. I may never see him again for the rest of my life, but he changed mine for the better and though he may never realise it he’s changed the lives of countless people I’ve known and will know in the future. Not a bad legacy really.