Let’s get the obvious ones out of the way first: Phone call/Text Message/Email/Party Line (old school!). These forms of communication are easy peasy, can be accomplished from virtually anywhere, and don’t require much time if you’re short on it. Call your Mom out-of-the-blue once in a while, even if she lives nearby. [Ma, I’m working on it! 😉 ] It takes five minutes or less to email, text, or send a private message via FB to let a friend know you’re thinking about them. Oftentimes it’s not so much the content of the message that matters most, but the fact that you reached out to let someone know they were on your mind and you care for them. I tend to put off small tasks knowing that they are quick and can be done “whenever”, which ultimately results in a bunch of them piling up, making them not so small anymore. In an effort to prevent this type of pile-up and to become more focused in my daily life, I made a list of “life tasks” to complete at the end of the 9-to-5 workday. I broke them into categories and one is “social” – yes, I even scheduled specific emails (and texts!) to send. I wrote the list on Sunday night and mapped out each weekday. So far I’d give myself a C: I’m getting stuff done but scheduled too much on each day, underestimating the amount of time it takes to complete each task and chore. Next Sunday I will work on fitting my tasks into specific blocks of time.
Write a letter! From an early age, I loved the process of writing a letter: picking out a funny or colorful notecard or stationary, deciding whether to print or write in cursive, thinking up stuff to chat about…it may sound dorky, but I still delight in all of it. Some of my early letter-writing memories include writing letters to my Grandma who lived less than an hour away, as well as being assigned a pen pal in Girl Scouts – (one was my cousin in Texas which was perfect. Since we lived so far away from each other, we got to know each other better through those letters!) As I moved into adulthood, I continued to write letters. When I left New Jersey for college in Virginia, my sister and I exchanged notes, letters, and memorabilia (I loved sending and receiving photos, cocktail napkins, or even a mix tape!). It helped me miss her less by reading about her wedding prep and “hearing” the excitement in her writing, as well as her words of encouragement as I navigated through college. I think we both enjoyed sharing our experiences which helped bridge the gap between our geographical distance.
There’s something so personal about receiving a letter which journeyed through the post so that you can read your loved one’s stories in their own voice and handwriting. Again, you can devote as little or as much time as you like to this endeavor. Maybe you’d like to dash off a brief postcard to your cousin while traveling because something on your trip reminded you of him or her, or perhaps you’re in the mood to sit down for a solid 15 minutes and gab about life happenings to a buddy you haven’t seen for a few months. Whichever you choose, if you make it an enjoyable activity for yourself, it will come through to the recipient and everyone wins.
In this age of technology, why not play a game? I have a few Words With Friends games going with several family members and friends. It’s a fun way of interacting and competing with people near and far, and it’s convenient for both parties to play a word at their leisure (within about seven days of the opponent’s turn) and exercise their vocabulary. We can write each other instant messages on the side bar within the game too. Another game I’m into is Fantasy Football(!) This may come as a surprise to those who know me because historically I’m not a football fan, but I thought I’d give it a try this year. My husband and I each have our own team along with his brothers, our future sister-in-law, and friends, making us ten teams in all. I’m learning about the game, researching players and stats along the way, and strategizing my next moves. I like that the game is interactive on a weekly basis for each of us to amend our team and not just static for the entire season. The enjoyment I’m experiencing comes as a surprise, and I’m glad I opened my mind to the option of learning about something I’d formerly convinced myself I would not like. The main takeaway from these activities is the shared experience and camaraderie generated by the game play. Interests are cultivated and conversations are sparked; isn’t that what it’s all about?
Would you like to share a nosh and chat face-to-face, no matter how far the distance? This can be (virtually) achieved if you make a Skype date (or FaceTime, if both parties have Apple devices). Skype is a user-friendly service which is free to download and operate. It’s my understanding that there is a charge only if calls are dialed or received from an actual telephone number (which I’ve never had to do), or if there is a group video call with more than two parties (sounds fun!). It’s a good idea to Skype with parents, close friends, and family whom we don’t get to see as often as we’d like. And although we’re seeing each other on a screen and not in person, it’s in real time and truly does make the heart grow warmer and ease the “missin’ you” vibes. Up until a few years ago when my sis and I lived across the country from one another, we’d make Skype craft dates to work a project together, sitting at a desk and a dining room table, in different parts of the country, having a good ol’ time. Our nephew would show Aunt Julie and Uncle Opie the Lego set he put together, while our niece attempted to crawl into the iPad. We’ve opened Christmas gifts, eaten tacos, and spilled secrets over Skype. We’ve shared a beer out west with friends in the east coast, swapped stories with a dear friend in Tennessee, and watched a cousin in England ride a bike in their flat. All from the comfort of our home.
What are your favorite ways to K.I.T.? Is there something I left out that works great for you? Tell us in the comments below.