Let me ask you something. When someone invites you to a lunch at her place, isn't it basic courtesy to reply if you are able or unable to attend? I mean how long is that going to take to respond? A minute ? Tops 2, perhaps?
Recently, I had invited a group of my friends in our whatsapp group chat for Diwali Lunch at my place. We are a group of around 10 Singaporean ladies - 2 are away in Australia. We have known each other for a long time. Since our children had been 7 years old (2009) in the same elementary school in the east of Singapore. We had grown close over the years because we would discuss our children, their many idiosyncratic behaviour, their unbelievably strict teachers and because we were parent volunteers too, we had many chances to meet up. It was a lovely period in our lives. I'm not sure about the rest, but it was for me absolutely. I am not a loner. I thrive in groups of friends. I love the closeness, the laughter and the camaraderie that close friendships bring. We learn so much from each other. We share the happiest and the saddest of moments with our girlpals. Girlfriends add a certain depth and meaning to our lives that we can't get from our husbands. After all, we are all of the same species. Its not shocking.
Then, something inevitable happened. The kids grew up (they all do!) and one by one they left school and went on to different secondary schools. They became teenagers. So, they did not need to be picked up anymore. All these changes affected the group dynamics. All of a sudden, we were not meeting up outside Temasek Primary School Exit Gate B anymore waiting to pick up our kids. When during the last few days my girls were in Temasek Pri before we went abroad, I remember thinking exactly this. Slowly, but surely, we grew apart. Its disheartening. But its an inevitable change, isnt it? Many groups face that. But do you know what I failed to take from the situation? The very fact that we have grown apart.
I realised it today. It was like a ray of enlightenement I received while I was handling yet another disappointing episode in my life this morning. We had been close friends before. The key word being 'had'. But we are not anymore. I was trying desperately to hold on to the past because of the beautiful memories we shared. But the past remains in the past. I can't recreate the past in the present. Its basic common sense. We have matured as some of us are in our fifties now and some in late forties.. Some of us have started working, some have gone back to school and we have different interests, different friends now. In short, we have gone different ways. It's no one's fault. It's just the way things have turned out.
So there I was inviting everyone over for the Diwali lunch and a few replied within the next 2 days. Only 3. And some replied after prompting a few times. Am I over reacting? Am I expecting too much? No I don't think I am. I'm dead sure about this. It is basic courtesy to reply to say that you can or you can't come because you have something else to attend to. Or if you are working. If you are not sure, just say that and when you can confirm by. And of course, please do get back. Like I said earlier, it takes only 2 mins at the most. Brushing your teeth takes longer than that, for goodness sake!
I realised I was trying too hard to recreate that closeness I had when people just don't give a damn anymore. Really, no one does! I left the chat group today after so many years, wishing them well and thanking them for the memories. If any of you are reading my post, remember I write all this in good will and no hard feelings are involved. You are all good ladies and I love you all to the end of the world. You were my good friends once but we have gone separate ways. If only you felt my dedication to our friendship and had replied sooner or replied at all. That's what troubled me. I just wanted to do my part in educating all of you and the public. I'm certainly not perfect and I do have my over the top sometimes even peculiar ways but I always try to be polite.
After all that, what is my point I am putting across? As you navigate through the later years of your lives, please don't forget your basic manners, to rsvp, to be honest even if its brutal. Don't become so busy or so nanchalant that you let it erode your values of civility. And don't take your friends for granted. They may not be significant in your life right now but they were at one point and they would have contributed to your life experiences without which we are nothing. Good manners - they are the cornerstone of every person, young or old. Period.
My home is
usually in a mess and has dust settled on almost everything. But I believe laughter and love will win the day. In 20 years, my girls won't remember how messy the house was but will remember the time we spent together and the love they felt...