365 Challenge: Day 97 – Far-Away

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Far-Away: distant from others, as in space or time

In yesterday’s 365 Daily Challenge, there were two definitions for the word distant, but I only covered the first one, meaning reserved or cool; not intimate. Today, we shall explore what I intended in the second meaning of “distant,” relative to being far away from our family and friends, due to either distance or time.

far awy

Life is full of change. People come in and out at different points, usually depending on the circumstances surrounding both of your lives. There’s an old expression that says something along the lines of “You can’t change your family. They’re blood relations.” While we could play word games all day and explore family by marriage or adoption, I’m not looking to find all the hidden meanings in these words. But what I do want to discuss is how important a role family plays in your life. A little background:

As I’ve posted before, I am an only-child, but both of my parents have a bunch of siblings who all grew up on Long Island. I have around 15 first cousins whom I essentially grew up with, each living somewhere between 2 minutes and 20 minutes away from me. Perhaps a story for another day, but I wasn’t aware of 2 of the cousins until my grandfather passed away when I was in high school. I met them for the first time at his funeral, not ever knowing they lived in the same town and I went to high school with one of them. {Aside: Not for nothing, but what if I ended up dating one of them without our families knowing… how crazy would that be!} Nonetheless, apart from that one set of relatives, I saw my family nearly every weekend.

We’d have dinners during the week, holiday parties, summer barbecues, impromptu visits and regular play dates. We were all very close, as my parents were close with their siblings for most of their lives. Over the years, for various circumstances, the family has grown further apart. One aunt passed away, but we still see my uncle and cousins. They are the only ones to remain on Long Island with one other exception. The rest have all moved away to Florida or Pennsylvania. My generation, all the cousins, have scattered even further. We’ve moved to the west coast, all over the country and even to Asia and Eastern Europe. Scattered. The family has scattered. Throughout those years, I’ve been both close and distant with each of my cousins, sometimes dependent on our ages and at others where we lived.

You’re thinking… Captain Obvious again, Jay. Sometimes we’re close, sometimes we’re not. True. But my question is… when it’s family, should we make more of an effort? I love them all. I like them all. Some I probably wouldn’t be friends with if they weren’t relatives. Some I probably would be close with even if we weren’t related. As the 15 of us are now all between 25 and 43, we are the generation having children and beginning to think about the future of our family. We try to keep up with texting and social media, sometimes calls and the occasional visit or get-together. But it’s nothing like we did as children with our parents and grandparents. In one way, it’s sad. In another, it’s an exciting challenge, meaning, as we each see the world, we can grow and expand the knowledge of our family.

But are the days of the close-knit family essentially gone? Is this circumstantial to just my family (and people like us)? Is it due to most of us wanting to get off of Long Island? {Aside: It’s a beautiful place, but very congested and hard to travel anywhere. Minimum 2 hours to get outside of the island and beyond NYC, which makes weekend trips a bit difficult} Is it generational with those of us born from 1975 through current days? Or is it that we are too selfish to purposely keep the family connections intact and intimate?

For me, it’s a bit of a pattern. I had a group of grammar school friends, but I don’t see them anymore. We’ll occasionally exchange a message on Facebook or Instagram, but it’s rare — even with my best friend who lived next door. We spent every day together for 18 years, then every summer together during college years. But nearly 20 years later, it’s quite different. Same with my high school and college friends. We grow further and further apart. I’ve got a small group of close friends that my partner and I see frequently, and there is a lot of substance there, but none have known me for decades like some of my former oldest friends… or my family.

Is this how life is, e.g. transient in the sense you pick up and move, find new friends and go on? Technology makes it easier and harder to stay connected. When you have a smart phone, you can see what everyone is doing. Yet at the same time, you’re less inclined to physically get together. While I’m not upset or depressed by everything I’ve just said, I am curious how this plays out for the next 40 years of my life (or more… since I might just live forever). If my partner and I move outside of NY, will we need to start over and find new friends to regularly see in person? Will I grow further apart from family? We don’t have children now, and probably won’t in the future (never really finished that conversation), what happens to us when we’re in our 60s and 70s… are we the great uncles to our cousins and his siblings kids that randomly visit from time to time?

I’m just thinking aloud. I’m a very happy person, so these are just questions that I ponder. How about you? What relationships do you have with your family today? And how do you see that changing in your future? And your friends? Let’s be honest… we say we will stay connected forever… and at 20, I believed it. At 40, I see reality. Or is it just my perception? Let’s get to the root of this… I look forward to hearing from everyone.

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

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28 thoughts on “365 Challenge: Day 97 – Far-Away

    Nel said:
    June 17, 2017 at 9:39 AM

    I’m perfectly content with seeing my family twice a year. That’s a long sordid story for one of our chats lol. I only see my best friend twice a year if we’re lucky and we’ve been friends for 10 years. You make it work if you want it to work that’s for sure. Glad to have my husband though and a few close friends who live here.

    Liked by 2 people

    therobinsnest2017 said:
    June 17, 2017 at 9:51 AM

    Nice post Jay –

    I’m not an only child, I have 2 sisters, 1 brother, 1 living parent and live about 2 1/2 hours from them (the closest in mileage in over 30 years). I would be the lucky one traveling to family gatherings – the oldest, moved from home first, married first, etc at each new location my parents moved. We use to get together all the time but after my father passed away, and due to a situation, I went 4 years without speaking to or seeing my siblings but would talk to my mother everyday on the phone. It took this past year to bring us together and we are still trying to put hurt feelings, hurt words and stubborn personalities in the past. As far as my aunts, uncles and cousins-I haven’t seen them in over 12 years. Do I see us doing the big family get together’s as before in the past? Unfortunately, the answer is no. Could I change this? Not sure.

    I have two daughters and 4 grand children. I see two of my grandchildren and oldest daughter almost everyday. My youngest daughter, not so much. It breaks my heart but that’s a whole different story….

    Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      June 17, 2017 at 10:05 AM

      Thanks for sharing. It seems so many families have some events that separate them sometimes even from talking. It happened in mine in the past. That’s apparently how I didn’t know I had two other cousins. Sorry it was rough for you for a time. And that there is a separation now.

      Liked by 1 person

    Jo-Ann said:
    June 17, 2017 at 11:43 AM

    I think that all the stages in our lives help us grow as people and eventually we all move on and have to do our own separate things. It’s sad when we are separate after having such closeness, but we obviously can’t go on in life attached at the hip! We have to do our own things for each of us to be able to grow.

    I used to say to my old friends, when we’d bump into one another, “We have to get together for tea!” And at that moment, I mean it, I really do want to get together.

    But the reality is, we have our lives and our lives are busy. I’d feel guilty because I haven’t made the effort. I’ve discussed this with many of my friends and we’ve learned to just go with saying it’s so great to see you, and cherish the times that we do have together. Social media will just have to fill in the blanks until then 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      June 17, 2017 at 12:07 PM

      That’s a really positive spin on it… and probably makes it so much easier to accept. It comes down to how much time do you have and how do you want to spend it in priority order. And people can’t take offense to it. Takes two to set plans, so if they want to see you, it’s up them also! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

        Jo-Ann said:
        June 17, 2017 at 9:29 PM

        Yes, absolutely! We all recognize that its tricky sometimes to do it all. Sometimes its enough to touch base with a text.

        Liked by 1 person

    Mischenko said:
    June 17, 2017 at 12:19 PM

    This is a great post and something I think about often. As a child, my family had huge get-togethers and now those are gone. I don’t talk with any of my cousins and I’m not close with my in-laws either past an occasional visit because we don’t live close. I’m not even close with my brother who lives about an hour from me. For us, I think it boils down to dis-functionality. For one reason or another, we just grew apart. Plus, only some are willing to put in the effort, and for us, it seemed like if we weren’t traveling to see everyone, we would never see anybody. It got to the point where we just sort of gave up trying to remain close.

    My husbands family are more like ‘blood is thicker than water’ type of people and tend to be cliquey. Recently, I had a discussion with my mother about this. It is what it is. There’s nothing that can be done when others aren’t willing to change. Plus, a lot of people I talk to have the same issues with family. I think it’s become more common. It’s almost like a prophecy with what the Bible says about how people will grow apart in the end days, not to bring the Bible into it. :/ It just seems weird. I do hear others talk about how close their families are, so I don’t think it’s completely vanished. Location seems to be a big one… 🙂 Sorry for such a long reply! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      June 17, 2017 at 12:54 PM

      Love long replies… helps continue building bonds and friendships.

      I think it still exists, just not as much. So perhaps the Bible is coming true over time. 🙂

      It’s hard. I know my mom is very upset by the distance between everyone. I am big into family history and genealogy, so I stay connected with everyone, but sometimes it’s superficial, or feels that way. I don’t know my cousins’ spouses all that well, but we do chat on occasion on FB or other social media sites.

      It does take both people in that situation to work it out. I think I’m lucky as with the except of the 2 cousins I mentioned that I never knew about, I keep in touch with everyone a few times per year. Those cousins wandered in for a few years then wandered out. Been at least a decade now.

      Family means something different to everyone. Such interesting stuff to study.

      Thank you for being so open and sharing! Too bad we don’t live close by… we’d get along quite well.

      Liked by 2 people

    shalini said:
    June 17, 2017 at 12:20 PM

    Jay most of my cousins have shifted abroad so lost touch with them due to distance and other family politics.. Couple of cousins are still around close to where I stay. I am always there if they need me but they wouldn’t be… After a few hurts, I have put a barrier around me, very few can enter.. Some few friends are there.. But my sister and my mom are my best friends they make the core me… I sometimes prefer strangers who wouldn’t judge me.. Am I rambling too much??

    Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      June 17, 2017 at 12:56 PM

      Yes. Way too much ramble. Never talk to me again.

      No. You aren’t. It’s open dialogue and chatter. Love it. 🙂

      Glad you are close to your mom and sister. That’s important.

      Different things bring people together. My cousin and I have exchanged a few emails and messages over the last 5 to 10 years. We were very close as kids. He’s been living in NYC about 30 minutes away from me, but we never see each other. He had an accident 2 weeks ago and has been in the hospital since then. I’ve got up to see him 6 or 7 times to re-connect. He gets out today, and I really hope we keep it up.

      Liked by 1 person

        shalini said:
        June 17, 2017 at 1:09 PM

        I think you have to make initial effort to meet up with cousin then it becomes routine and easier too. Glad he is ok..
        In india we stay with our parents so easy to be friends with them.. Sister is also close by so v do keep in touch everyday..
        I ramble then realise I ramble so to keep u updated I write I have rambled.. Then u can allow me to ramble and ramble ahead.. I think you got the point…
        I re read my post… Hehe I gave had a long day havnt I 😂😂

        Liked by 1 person

        James J. Cudney IV responded:
        June 17, 2017 at 1:16 PM

        you are funnier today than yesterday. and that was a funny day. ramble.

        Liked by 1 person

        shalini said:
        June 17, 2017 at 1:18 PM

        Loooong day jay… Tough day so brain just rambling.. Did all the thinking for work now its just… (Ya u guessed it) … Rambling

        Liked by 1 person

    caterpillars2butterfliesblog said:
    June 17, 2017 at 12:22 PM

    What a thought provoking piece today! And quite honestly, it is something that I had pondered just as often within my own life. Being in my mid 40’s now with 2 grown children, and even a grandchild now…the family dynamics is so incredibly different from that of my youth. I have often thought it sad for sure. My kids never got to experience what it was like for all the aunts, uncles, and cousins to get together a few times a year. In so many ways, I felt as though they missed out on so much. But, looking back now, did they really? There’s not a single family member that I see or keep in contact with on a consistent basis, apart from my parents. And sadly, the main reason I stay close to them, is due to their deminishing health.

    Family bonds, and friends alike, have certainly changed throughout the generations. Will things ever migrate back to the way they used to be? They always say ‘history has a way of repeating itself’. I think this is one aspect that is highly unlikely to come back around. Thank you again for some of the most eye opening posts!!!

    Liked by 2 people

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      June 17, 2017 at 1:01 PM

      You are welcome. And thank you so much for engaging and commenting. That’s the part I love about all this blogging fun. Getting to know people from all over the world… learning about differences and similarities. Creating opportunities to think outside the box or remind us of the basic stuff we’re often too busy to think of.

      Sounds like our families have gone thru a similar shift. Although we’ve grown apart in mine, we all do still keep in touch thru one another. May not see each other a lot, but we do check in. Many of my aunts and uncles are actually on FB, so I see what’s going on in their lives. Sometimes too much… especially when they post political views that I disagree with. I sorta close my eyes and go… ugh… family. love em but really? LOL

      Liked by 2 people

        caterpillars2butterfliesblog said:
        June 17, 2017 at 1:09 PM

        I look forward to reading many many more of your posts and prodding my own thoughts to conjure up so much. I am enjoying learning bits and pieces from others as I really step into my blogger role.

        Liked by 1 person

        James J. Cudney IV responded:
        June 17, 2017 at 1:16 PM

        awesome! that’s exactly what this is all about. good deal. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      Mischenko said:
      June 17, 2017 at 1:06 PM

      Exactly. I used to think to myself that my kids would suffer. Cousins are like celebrities! In all actuality though, they are missing a lot of family drama as well, which to me can be damaging. At least in my case…Even with our huge cook-outs and family get-togethers, someone was always fighting with someone or maybe someone would leave mad. I’m glad to not have to deal with that drama. It’s sad, but it is what it is.

      Liked by 2 people

    Rae Longest said:
    June 17, 2017 at 5:20 PM

    I am not close to family because of geographical distance between us, but I have quite a few friends I consider family and am extremely close to.

    Liked by 1 person

    Kristin said:
    June 18, 2017 at 1:01 AM

    I have two sisters.

    A half sister that kept sending me drunken texts wanting me to hook up with her…yikes! Sorry, chick, I’m not into incest!

    Then my only sister I claim, my full blooded sister. She and I aren’t overly close. But we talk maybe once a week. I am close to one of my nieces though.

    I’m not close with any of my extended family due to alcoholism and drugs.

    I didn’t have many friends growing up (long story there) and honestly only select friends now.

    I met my besties online. One lives across the world from me. We talk on the phone daily but have never met.

    My other bestie lives 45 minutes from me. We talk daily via text. She and I also met online. We meet up 3-4 times a year. With my six and her three plus three kids she babysits for, it can be hard to find time to physically get together.

    My tribe is small. I’m not much one for hanging out so I’m okay with how things are 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      June 18, 2017 at 6:41 AM

      You always have interesting stories.

      I’m seeing a lot of best friends that have met online but not in person yet. That’s really great to see what’s possible.

      Small is good. That’s how I feel most comfortable too!

      Liked by 1 person

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