by Lianne Castelino www.whereparentstalk.com
The lady I had an appointment with at the bank yesterday gave me a ton of food for thought.
Never met her before. We started to chat. She began telling me about how her quiet husband of more than 30 years got up and left last year — leaving his wife and twentysomething daughter to “go and do things for himself”.
She has analyzed it backwards and sideways — there were no signs, she says. The one thing that she regrets is that her husband, with whom she still speaks and is not divorced from, was a quiet guy. She suspects he had been bottling things up for years. How in the world was she supposed to get them out?
We went on to chat about how women tend to talk more openly about things (generally), whereas men don’t normally share personal stories with each other. What outlet do they have? Is not having an outlet a pre-cursor for depression or other issues — like leaving a family.
What could she have done differently? It’s a question she’s been asking herself repeatedly for a year now, since he left. How could she have made him talk more?
She did say that with both of them working full-time, his job involving travel, raising a daughter and taking care of parents and in-laws, they devoted precious little time to each other.
Her mantra, she says, should have been spouse comes first.
These are common refrains within many families today — “don’t have time,” “need to make time”, “wish I had time”. What are we all doing, exactly?
The other issue here is plain and simple old fashion communication. Some people are bigger talkers than others, definitely, but keeping those communication lines open — whether with spouse, child, parents, etc., is critical. Not always easy, perhaps, but important.
I’m always amazed by how as a society we seem to have forgotten how to talk — to have truly meaningful, non-judgmental, genuine, in-person conversations with people. Why has that become so hard? You know the face-to-face variety complete with eye contact, body language and hand gestures?
In some workplaces it’s so bad, that people email their next-door-cubicle neighbour ‘good morning’ and ‘good night’.
My own view on these topics has been the same from day one. Setting priorities. Keeping priorities. Never wavering from priorities. There is so much noise in the world today, so many distractions and temptations that it takes the singular focus of an athlete sometimes to maintain priorities —- whatever they are in your life. However, if you set them and are committed to them — chances are you will keep them.
Needless to say, my 10 minute bank appointment turned into a 40-minute life lesson.
You never know why certain people cross your path. However, there is always a reason that they do.