Christmas Words & Wishes

There is an old myth that Eskimo have a very large number of words for snow.

At first that seems like it could be true given the apparent lack of change in the Northern landscape. Its a nice idea though.

For me I like the idea of precision and being able to cut through to the core significance of whatever the subject matter is. And yet..

sometimes we find we just have no words to describe what is happening around us.

Share the Joy - Oriental Bay Wellington - NZ 2010 ChristmasTruth is we interpret everything based on out own frameworks and vocabulary : yet shared experiences can be richer when there are no words or when words fail to capture that depth of experience.

Not so long ago I went for a walk with a friend who was very sick. We’d already talked that one out and walking was just a simple pleasure and enough by itself.

I never saw him again (as it happened -RIP) but there was a kind of shared communion in that walk.

Just recently I made time to be with a friend and to consciously just sit and watch the sunset together.

We talked about everything and nothing and yet there is a kind of alignment that comes with being present and making the time to share. Not easy to timetable but important to do.

Technology has exploded the natural limits of friendship and how we can be together.

When you also work in a technology sector that means tuning into both physical and virtual spaces which can be very different but rewarding when you do.

Chris Brogan wrote back in 2007

“I need more words for “friend.” What do you call that person you really like a lot, but have only met in person once? What do you call that person you wish you spent more time with, but who you connect with every time you’re together?”

He was talking about the kind of new connection that is more easily possible in a world of twitter, skype and facebook where the context between us has changed in new and interesting ways.

The Bogardus Social Distance Scale asks people the extent to which they would be accepting of each group and attempts to measure the context.

The scale starts at close relatives by marriage ( would you marry this person, live next door or work with them etc.) ranging down via close personal friends, neighbours, co-workers, citizens, visitors and eventually to a group of people you would want to exclude from your country.

As a scale it has been around since 1925 and as you might expect more recent measurements show closer relationship patterns than when the theory was first proposed.

What I’ve been thinking about is – how different my world is to my parents and how it is possible to have close friends who may start as colleagues and friends but mean much, much more.

This is due to the frequency and ease of communications may even rate above the top tier (or pretty close to it) somewhere between close friends and family.

I call this the “who do I most want to share Christmas with test”.

This year has been another exciting year of journey and discovery. I got to work on a project in Africa (small beginnings but big plans – FirstSpaceFiber) a number of non-profits I like ( Cycle Action , TEDxAuckland, WordcampNZ , Arts Therapy et ors.) and some pathfinding ( OperationHQ) with clever, clever people just to name a few.

I also got to spend more time with people I like, love and want to spend my Christmas with.

In the words of the song

” I once lived for the future, every day was one day closer..greener on the other side.. I can give you the present… “

Stuff & Nonsense – Split Enz. (love the version by Missy Higgins)

Happy Christmas people. Love & affection.