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September 2021
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Journey of Life: Human Connection

By Xiao

It has been a week since we said goodbye to our neighbors and set off on our trip west. With old friends, new neighbors around, this stop is unique in its own way. Ever since we went on our journey, the sense of attachment and loss made me wonder. What are the human connections that made us who we are where we are.

After all the moving frenzy died down, we started to enjoy our days. Sitting outside on a sunny day, being in touch with the surroundings, yet I found we were still tied to our laptops, emailing, chatting, browsing. Otherwise it is the radio or TV for news to keep us updated. Is the human element that important? I wondered. Ever since we were born, we start to make human connections, the bond of blood to our family, the people we come across as we choose our path in life. No matter where the journey of life takes us, we make connections, and of course we break connections sometimes. The connections weaved us into the social network, whether we like it or not. “Six degree of separation” is a way of showing how interconnected everyone is. Yes, it is easier today to make and maintain connections. Long ago, when someone ventures out, leaves the familiarity of his/her home, it was pretty much a long goodbye or even farewell. No means to stay in touch with your family and friends, the connections become dormant almost. Even when there were letters or telegraphs, the delay in communications made it hard to truly stay connected since you are out of phase in real life. But the breakthrough in modern technologies made it a non-issue. You can give someone a phone call, an email, a text message, you can chat online or video conference in real time, or just post an update on some social network to let people know your recent activity. The question is no longer how to keep connected, but how much you want to keep connected.

The ease of keeping in contact and the global society that we have today uproot more people from their nests. Driven by career or personal goal, there is a new generation of “drifters”. They are constantly on the road, some move almost every year. They meet new people, form new circles, step out of the old, it is all part of the norm. The constant in and out flow of the network makes the connections lively, yet weightless due to the number of connections to maintain and low expectation level. People are consumed more and more into virtual world. The young generation even derive their connections in real life from virtual one, such as social networks and games. Breaking a connection is as easy as making a connection, from blocking or deleting someone from contact list to people getting fired through text message, this is the new age for human connection. Everyone is intertwined, yet it is hard to peel through the endless noise of connections to discover the real ones.

Yes, as human being, we still need real connections, the ones that touches you deep down, the ones resonates with your core being, whether it spouted from virtual or not. We need family and friends as our comfortable zone, where we can be ourselves without the fear of being judged, we need our support group to fall back on in case of emergency. We need social circle, “partner in crime”, to share experience, tears or joy, we are social animals, after all. With our guard up, noise around, real connections often catches us by surprise. Whether it is a love bloomed in unexpected season, or it is nice campground host and neighbor felt like family, they are pearls in the journey of life, the true human connections.

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