Culture | Career | Community | Productivity

Catching Up & Bridging Gaps

The idea of catching up is tantalizing. I use this phrase often in two contexts; catching up with someone I haven’t spoken with in some time, and catching up on work that’s piled up in my work or personal ambition buckets. This week I did a fair amount of catching up in both contexts. But we never really catch up, do we? We mostly just shrink the gap between people, workload or expectations before we inevitably see the gap widen again. We’re all just so… busy.

The act of getting reacquainted, of meeting to see how someone’s been, what’s up with the family, how so-and-so’s doing, is a lovely form of catching up. There’s so much loneliness and division in the world today, fueled by the pandemic and political inclination, and the general categorization of people into one camp or another. It should be so easy to just put it all aside and listen to each other. Many people just don’t want to deal with conflict or focus on differences of opinion, and so we just don’t communicate at all.

But there’s joy in bridging the gap. Finding common ground and dancing in the light of understanding and acceptance. When we close that gap we draw closer together, and feel the humanity of another. When we ghost each other, block people on social media, and gossip about what the other is doing the gap widens. I’ve shrunk from a few people over the last several years, finding their opinions repulsive. Yet I know there’s still common ground should we ever sit down to catch up. We go on with our lives without those people in it, but feel the void where the relationship calved. Stack up enough of these and it’s death by a thousand cuts. No wonder people are lonely and stressed out.

At least there’s work to take our minds off the world, right? But even here the gap between what needs to be done and what we can possibly accomplish feels impossibly large. We catch up on one thing and see the gap widen in another. Supply chain issues, labor shortages, trust issues… it’s enough to make you throw your hands up in the air and buy a boat or camper to get out of Dodge. We work until the wheels come off and then teeter trying to balance on what’s left.

The reality is we’ll never quite catch up, and that’s okay. We decide where to close gaps and where to let things stay adrift. When the time is right–if the time is ever right–we’ll come back to that which we’ve neglected and, well, catch up once again.

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