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Posted by on 11 November 2009


Today marks my release from the prison cell that is my bedroom.

When I was in quarantine, my only windows to the world were my mobile phone and my laptop. Only then did I realise just how much it means to a person who is all alone — especially when ill — to have someone say “get well soon” “hope you’re feeling better” “how are you today?” be it by email, SMS, or blog/Twitter/Facebook comment. It may have been a small gesture on your part, perhaps a passing thought typed at the spur of the moment. But it meant the world to me when I was feeling down and lonely.

Inasmuch as this experience made me appreciate those friends all the more, it also made me wonder about the others. Why didn’t they say anything? Does the thought of swine flu disgust them? Was it a simple matter of them not checking Facebook as often as I do? Or was it a case of not knowing what to say to me or feeling too embarrassed to say it? Because as far as I know, online communication has taken away the usual awkwardness from face-to-face situations. And you have more time to think of what to type. You can edit, delete, rewrite everything umpteen times until it sounds just right and you can finally hit ‘Send’.

However, rather than feeling bad about it and writing off those people from my list of ‘real’ friends, I did the complete opposite: I surprised friends whom I haven’t seen or talked to in years with short notes saying how happy I am to have known them. I wrote about my best memories of them. I thanked them for the small favours they’ve done for me in the past which made an impact in my life. I apologised for the little things I’ve said and done that may have hurt them, those little things that I’d take back if only I could.

I did put a little P.S. to each note stating that I’m not dying of any terminal disease or anything. I told them: why should I wait for a special occasion to say all these things?

And you know what? The response was just overwhelming. It’s amazing how much you get back when you give, no matter how little.

So reach out and touch someone today. Reconnect with people whom you haven’t talked to in a long time. You’ll find that it may just be the best thing you’ve done in a long, long time.

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