I live in the small beach town of Montezuma in Costa Rica and real friendship is sacred to me. In the last 18 years of my life here I’ve seen many tourists and expats come and leave. It’s always been a very transient place, but what I’ve also noticed is a big change in the way friendships happen here.
When I arrived in 2001 from New York this was the place, where it felt like we all had plenty of time. Life was slow, which was such a welcomed change from my hectic life back in NYC. My boyfriend at the time ran a hotel, there was only dial up internet and a fax machine, no cellphones and few landlines in town. When I started Montezuma Yoga I would spend about an hour every day on the super slow, patience requiring internet, to deal with yoga inquiries and answer my emails. I would take time once in a while to have a good long phone call with my friends back home.
No worries, this is not turning into a “back-in-the-days-everything-was-better” post, but when I look back at the quality of life and how it has shifted in just 18 years, it feels crazy to me.
By midday my boyfriend and I would go home to his house up the hill, where we had no internet and no phone. We would spend hours listening to music, talking, watching the stars, making love and just BEING. Friends would come visit for dinner, we would throw great full moon parties, where we danced all night. Life felt very peaceful and rich.
Nowadays it takes a lot of effort to see my friends here. There’s very little room for spontaneous dinners or let’s go to the beach. How did we all become so damn busy? We all created our dream lives here, we started dream businesses, build dream houses and wanted to be in nature. If I want to see my friends now, we need to make a date at least one week ahead. Or I need to go eat at their restaurant to see them while they are working.
With my friends overseas it’s not much different. With social media you somehow feel like you know what’s going on in their lives. You see posts with glamorous pictures and once in a while even a post where somebody is really sharing a bit more than superficial truth. But the real connection takes so much more effort, because we are all so lost in our busy lives. Do we work more hours than we used to do? Or do we just spend too much of our free time on the machine?
I am making a big effort these days to connect with my friends. Two of my closest girlfriends here moved away years ago, and we’ve been trying to set up weekly or bi-weekly zoom meetings to connect. We managed so far to do it once! Between work, taking care of kids, being in different time zones it seems really hard to make it happen. I know it’s not for lack of interest. We all long for connection.
With all the technology that makes it so much easier to connect worldwide than ever, how come we’ve lost the moment of real connection?
Are you willing to make more effort to schedule time for your friends and real relationships? To be less online, scrolling through social media or watching netflix, and instead to really check in with your friends?
The other day I talked to a friend in California, and while I wanted to make a video call, she said, please let’s have a good old fashion audio call. We ended up talking on the phone for 1.5 hours. It felt so good. We laughed, we inspired each other, we caught up on the last 2 years we didn’t see each other, drank tea as if we were sitting together…….There was something magical not to look at a screen and to just listen to her voice.
It’s my clear intention to spend more time with my friends. It has to become a non-negotiable, nothing that happens when all else is done and I have some space left. It has to be a priority like my yoga or meditation practice, like brushing my teeth, and I will schedule everything else around it.
What do you think, does real friendship exist today? How do you care for your friendships near and far?
I truly would love to hear from you,