Distant Friends

I’m not entirely sure why, but I’m always surprised when anybody notices me – particularly if they have discovered me via this blog. I have been writing online for a long time – recording my sometimes daily stories, thoughts, ideas, and non-adventures. I’ve come to know a great many people over the years – many are no longer writing – some are no longer with us at all. When I am discovered, it’s like being approached by a new friend on the infant school playground all over again.

In many ways, I am Charlie Brown. Maybe we all are.

There is an obstacle that deters many friendships I might have forged though – I’m a third of the way further around the planet than many of you. I live in England – land of rolling green hills, etiquette, and manners – which explains my relatively odd spelling of so many words, and particular way of forming sentences. And yes – I have the accent. For those wondering, I suppose to an international ear I sound a little like Anthony Head – the man in the library from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Living so far from the vast majority of you means I’m typically anywhere from five to eight hours ahead – your early evening is invariably the early hours of my morning.

I’ve lost count of the times I have stayed up chatting with newly found friends – losing track of time while getting to know each other in conversations spanning thousands of miles. And yet I cherish those friendships perhaps more closely than those I know in the ‘real world’. People who read this blog are afforded a far better knowledge of ‘who I am’ than those I know away from the keyboard.

The strangest thing about making friends across the vast stretches of the internet, is that sometimes you cross paths with somebody – quite by chance – and find yourself wondering ‘what if’. What if you had met that person years before – would your life have played out differently? In this chaotic, tumultuous, seemingly random maze of coincidences that we all attempt to navigate, what if we had met this person before that person, or done this instead of that ?

And then we see the smile of our children, and realise that the best things are never planned – that ‘happy accidents’ are probably the driving force behind everything – life, evolution, adventure, happiness, and so much more.

While I didn’t make my children – we adopted them when they were young – the person I am in their company is entirely down to choice. In the same way, the person that responds to an instant message, an email, or a comment on the blog is also a choice. I’ve always chosen to be myself – not to invent a persona – not to instruct – not to preach. I don’t market my words, and I don’t chase traffic. I’m just out here – and sometimes that leads to the most wonderful, organic, serendipitous friendships with the most unlikely people. Friendships forged in fire. Like minds.

So if you are one of those people that stumbled upon my words from distant climes, thank you. Thank you for reaching out, thank you for becoming my friend, and thank you for proving that the world isn’t bad at all. Quite the contrary in fact.

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