A group of friends standing in front of a laptop

A New Social Life

Over the course of the past year, most of us have been forced to only communicate by some sort of electronic device. We had birthday celebrations over Facetime while drop shipping gifts straight to their door via online shopping, we had meetings over Zoom, we learned technology quickly because that was really our only option. We didn’t gather with each other but instead tried to make the best of it. However, even though all of that was a bit different. I came across something very cool.

Using social media to meet people

I began networking and getting to know complete strangers on social media platforms. Some of them are completely across the country from me while others are right in my same city. Social media gets a bad rap sometimes, but with anything, there is good and bad.

Thankfully, I have personally experienced the good in kind people. Ultimately, that is what it’s all about in this world—showing kindness to others and making friends along the way. We often need people more than we really know especially in a time where we’ve been literally exiled from our fellow humans.

Putting myself and my story out there

I started putting myself out there more on social media by sharing my story, things I liked, recipes I cooked, words of encouragement, etc. The more I shared, the more people began to interact with me. It wasn’t forced engagement or even strange. Sometimes you do get the trolls and some really mean folks, but these were people just wanting to make friends also. Some of these people support me more so than my own real-life friends and family. It’s surreal to see complete strangers invested in your life cheering you on.

My entire social life has been through a screen the past year. While that sounds very sad, it has been liberating for me. So liberating that I want to travel to meet these folks that I now call my friends scattered all over this country. Some are lung cancer friends, some are friends from groups on Facebook while others are just friends that happened upon my platforms and we were able to relate to each other from loving musical theater to being a dog mom. It’s really special to make those kinds of relationships.

Building connections online

Experiencing the love of others via these platforms is beautifully overwhelming. They are willing to lift you up no matter what. They never miss a post. They are constantly liking and commenting while some of my own family doesn’t even acknowledge I am there. Makes me want to ask questions for sure. I even locked arms with a sweet lady that I have never met, but speak almost every single day on a small business venture and it has been an incredible opportunity and blessing. She encourages me on this cancer journey more so than anyone else and has never walked a cancer journey before. It’s so much fun to see people sharing love with others.

I saw a quote that read, “Where you can hate others for no reason, you can also love for no reason.” I think the world needs more of that. Like I said before, there is a lot of mean people on social media platforms just like in real life, there is also a lot of people out there that just want to show kindness to others also just like in the real world.

My cell phone has literally become my best friend from using Zoom to chatting and messaging people from all over. It is truly amazing, to be honest. My phone use to be just for calling folks, checking email, and a few other things, but lately it has become a literal lifeline for me. It has become my only social contact, the place my friends are, the place where I can laugh with others, the place where I can find support, I need from real people in my corner cheering me on. Thankfully, it’s a two-way street and I get to offer the same kindness and support. It really can make a huge difference.

What comes around goes around

I share my cancer journey in a couple of groups from time to time and none of my sharing is to brag to others about being stable or the longevity of my response to my current medication but to share hope with others. I once needed that hope shared by strangers in these same groups some days and I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I will need them again. Sharing hope and kindness is rewarding on so many levels and we need it even if it is through a screen. One day I hope to hug these folks in real life.

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