TGIF: Letters To:

TGIF

In the previous entry, you see ‘Letters From:‘; letters addressed to me by friends and loved ones. However, a person who receives and does not give [back] is like a dead sea – so rich in minerals, yet no life can exist there – with only inputs without outputs. It takes two hands to clap, and it takes both on either side to maintain a relationship. Letters are one of the most practical ways to do so. Two-penny letters (Hanson, Kinfolk Volume Three, p102-103) work very well as opposed to the notion that one should only write ‘proper’, lengthy letters. A simple “Hey, love your dress!” or “Meet for coffee soon, old sport.” can be so heartfelt in letting the addressee know that you are thinking of them.

I have written and sent out much letters, post cards, post-its, handmade and DIY cards to friends and loved ones through the years but two-penny letters is a quick solution with the same intent and outcome [though results vary depending on effort spent la]. One doesn’t have to fret over filling in the lines of the letter with ‘substantial’ content too. Simplicity is the way of life. There’s also lesser pressure and expectation added to the addressee; they are not forced to write something back.

We’ve all received that out-of-the-blue note from a friend; the joy and comfort that these little check-ins bring us is incredible considering the simplicity and scale of the act. It doesn’t take much time or effort to jot down a thinking-of-you note to a friend that will change their day.
Killeen Hanson (Kinfolk Volume Three)

A follow-up to Kinfolk‘s HOW TO BE NEIGHBORLY: CHECKING IN article, here‘s how you can ‘check in’ in someone else’s lives without being too over the top. And it is inexpensive too. Scattered all around hot-spots in Singapore are the Zo card racks constantly topped up and replenished with new Zo [post] cards on a regular basis. Pick up a few with interesting themes, colors, concepts, photography, etc. Bring them home, use a trusty pen to write on the blank areas of the card, give them by hand or by post whichever is preferred. For my foreign friends, you can collect all those free post cards from your country’s attractions and hot-spots (museums, tourist centers, etc), they are good for writing too.

Knowledge is power, now that you know how and what to do, send out your two-penny letters [or Zo cards]!

P.S. I would love to see your two-penny letters. Please feel free to tag me on your blogs or social media platforms, or drop me a hyperlink to your new media platforms under the comments section of this entry.

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Friends and Seasons

IMG_5929PHOTO: Reuel Eugene Tay

 

Had a HTHT (heart-to-heart talk) with a dear friend recently and she was sharing about how she was feeling a little sad about how some friends she was close to are no longer so lately. That set me thinking as well.

How many of us ever wondered how many friends we can make in one lifetime?

I tried googling it to find some statistics that can put a figure to this highly ambiguous subject but surprisingly, none can be found! Well, this is by far too difficult a subject to track even for the leading scientist of our time. There are after all the geographical and psychological differences that separates the countries from the conservative and the lesser, the extroverts from the introverts, and many other variables.

A blogger estimated the number of people the average Joe will meet in his or her lifetime at 100,000.

A comment taken from BBC News Magazine by Leading anthropologist Robin Dunbar who is also the person behind the term Dunbar’s number stated that an average person can maintain a stable, close relationship with 150 people approximately (The range is between 100 to 230).

Assuming that one-third (33,000) would probably be the friends we would have made in our whole life, this list of 150 could and would be changing all the time throughout our lives. Of course that’s not to stay that no one person will stay on that list, it really depends on the individual in question. Dunbar also went on to state that the number of close friends one can have and maintain is between the numbers 6 to 12.

On an unrelated topic, there is no individual who wouldn’t want another person whom he can call friend, since just by me typing friends on Google generated lots of suggestions such as ‘How many friends do you have’ ‘How many friends do you need’, ‘How to make friends’, ‘How to make friends after 30’, etc.

Thank God for friends!

From a non-statistical point of view, I would like to believe that every person goes through something I would like to call ‘seasons’ in his or her life. Much like the four seasons of the earth, the different seasons an individual is in also brings forth different people into his life; some – a familiar face, and some – strangers who are potential-best-friend material.

Friends who do not hold a place in our hearts will naturally fade away, that’s fine. Friends worth keeping will always be in our heart, and us in theirs. Sometimes, through the winds of time it may seem as though they no longer care [about this friendship], but perhaps it is just that they are also going through ‘seasonal changes’ in their life. That closely treasured relationship between the two is not lost, simply out-of-focus at the moment. And regrettably, there are also those lost friends whom we treasured a lot but whose friendship is strained, damaged, weakened due to time and distance, and lost forever.

Though painful, we must accept that this is a natural cycle of life. During Winter, many things disappear – friends who were once close are no longer around for us when we were at our lowest. But it is also during this time when enduring plants such as the beautiful Snowdrops and Camellia emerge – friends whom we never knew existed, friends who were always there for us, who will pick us up when we fall, and satisfy our weary soul. And then comes Spring, when some of these friendships blossom into a beautiful lasting relationship, many whom we will attend their 21st Birthday parties, their wedding matrimony and banquet, baby showers, arrival of grandchildren celebrations, 50th and 60th Birthday celebrations, and one whom we will fall in love and live with – friends who will always have a place in the 150.

 

P.S. I want to use this space to thank my wonderful boss Yuan Wenling for being more than a friend to me. Thank you for mentoring and caring for me during my time with City News. You may be out of sight but never out of mind. You are really missed. All the best in this new arena your family is placed in!