I recently asked a friend to do me a favor with something "cyber" related, which always paralyzes me and I was rather surprised by what transpired. I wanted access to a song I'd recorded so I could share it in a text and got a little impatient waiting for what I thought was a rather simple favor. A click of a few keys and done... In my frustration, I shot a text I actually thought twice about before hitting "send" (if you hear nothing else today remember this: in most cases, if you find yourself thinking twice before hitting "send," chances are you'll be doing yourself a favor if you DON'T hit "SEND"!)
It's also breaking rule #1 whenever asking another person of a favor: "Don't be pushy!"
Well, I let my angst hit "SEND" and off went the following:
"Two hours pass and I'm still waiting for a simple link to a sound cloud?"
His response was instant. He wrote back: "If you took the time to LEARN, you'd be empowered and you wouldn't have to wait for people to do the things you should be able to do on your own."
I thought about what he'd written and just how right my friend was. I'm not sure why I have such an issue with things like computers or things cyber-related, but I just do.
I pat myself on the back when I send an email, like it's some great accomplishment. Forget about Facebook and Twitter. It's funny because a lot of people tell me 'tweeting' is right up my alley, which I originally found offensive because I always thought Twitter was a tool to brag about this or that. For the record, I did attempt it once. I was putting together a small dinner for a friend who was on 60 Minutes. I thought that would be a great introduction to the world of Twitter. What "bragging rights" I could make. "Look where I was!" or better yet, "Look who I'm with!" I'd tweet a single photo of this really amazing evening, where our small group of friends were all super accomplished and famous. We had legends who'd graced the cover of TIME, a Rock & Roll Hall of Famer, that very week's cover story of the monthly Atlantic, as well as our mutual friend, the one being interviewed by Charlie Rose on 60 Minutes! One of the guests that night was someone I'd only met a couple times before, and I remember joking how she and I were the only ones in the room who'd never graced a magazine cover.
My nephew soon reminded me that she at least had several million twitter followers!
Well, as fate would have it, I had a problem with my phone that evening and I couldn't access the Twitter application, and out the window went my opportunity to brag about the cool people I was hanging with that Sunday night!
I took it as a sign.
I'm just not 'that' guy.
Plus, there's something that feels rather distasteful and insincere about posting things meant to "big us up" and yet, I get that we live in a world where those who do it are glorified and honored, so then again, 'what do I know?'
Well, I know what I don't know.
I've been pretty useless when it comes to things that deal with cyber-space. But if I'm to learn anything in my friend's message to me, I think as I approach the Great 5-0 I may embrace the possibility of seeing things differently, being open to learn a few new things. Even the very things that up until now have sometimes made me feel inadequate or "less than."
I've always felt that if we did the things that came natural and easy to us, the world would be a sweeter place. But perhaps tackling the very things that don't come easy to us are just as valuable, just as important. I may never send a tweet to a million followers about something I've done or eaten, but I can always take the time to sit and write a hand-written letter to someone who means something to me.
I guess, it's all relative.
At the end of the day, we get what we need.
I remember visiting a friend in Nantucket one summer. We went out for coffee early in the morning and I had gone to bed the night before reading the book her husband had just published. It bothered me that he had basically 'thanked' everyone in the foreward, but her. The mother of his children, his own wife! She looked at me with such "a knowing" in that moment and she smiled.
She said "Jimmy, I don't need that. And neither do you."
Well, whether that is or isn't true, I do know this much. I don't need a million "likes" to feel loved, or a bunch of followers on Twitter to feel a sense of community. I don't need a Grammy Award to feel like I can sing and I don't need to own a fancy car in order to drive one. But if I want to share a song I recorded in a Soundcloud, and send it when I want to, I guess I can stop expecting friends to stop what they're doing and get it to me, and I guess I can jump online, Google "How to make a soundcloud" and as my friend kindly reminded me, "do it myself."
And although I could say I did just that for the Soundcloud I decided to share at the end of this post, I'd be lying. Because my friend ended up sending it to me just the same.
As the rain falls outside my window on a beautiful morning here in Montecito, I know there may be great truth in taking the time to LEARN something, being empowered and not having to wait for other people to do the things we should be able to do on our own. But there's also something pretty wonderful that happens when a friend shows up for us. It might not come when we expect it, but whenever a friend comes through in the end, I can't think of a more empowering feeling, or a better yet, one worth waiting for . . .
Click to hear MY HEART IS HOME.