He aha te mea nui o te ao?
What is the most important thing in the world?
I recently went back to Christchurch, a place where I’ve made some of the best memories of my life so far and met some of the most extraordinary people. A place where my family still lives now. A place called home.
One of the highlights of my trips is going back to visit these extraordinary people I love. The people who have impacted on my life in ways I’ll never forget.
Time was tight but it was so wonderful to come back to a place that hasn’t much changed and to see the ways in which I myself have changed, and the way the people I’ve left behind have changed too.
Some have bloomed, some are growing, most are blossoming.
There are so many wonderful people in my life who have decided to join me on this fun, invigorating terrifying roller coaster ride and have refused to get off.
Throughout your life you will come across many, many people who will join you, at least for a moment. They will grab a pen and draw little pictures on your heart. A brush in hand, they’ll paint colours of feelings. Some will engrave their names. Some will steal your heart all together.
Having moved towns and cities several times in my life so far, I have left friends and gathered memories in many places. Sometimes you just grow up, you grow apart, people who were once your best friends – once so important, become a fond thought now and again as you come across a photo or a reminder. You move on.
Yet sometimes you grow up and people grow with you. One of my oldest friends I first met in year 6. I’ve now moved twice since then and yet we have catch ups on the phone every now and again. When we manage to find time to meet up, nothing has changed and I could tell her anything.
Some friends I don’t talk too for months, but when I do, we laugh and reminisce for hours.
Staying in touch with people – it takes effort. You have to put in time to ring, to text to write letters, to meet up.
But to the people who make you gloriously happy, hold on to them.
Give away your heart. Risk being hurt over and over again, because one day a Band-Aid and a soft hand might appear. People fear what they don’t know, as sometimes things just don’t work out. But the hope that they will, should keep you going.
If something keeps pulling you to someone, keeps reminding you of them – take the risk and hold on.
If things get tough, please don’t take the easy option and give up.
Because you see, “What If?” is a sentence full of more regret and hurt than anything else.
You could be thinking of someone one day and the next moment something happens and you’re gone, they’re gone.
I love hearing my parents voice on the end of the phone. I know my Grandma loves receiving a text or a letter. And it’s so lovely to catch up with people and see how they are.
Pick up the phone. Hop in the car.
Say what you mean, what you feel.
And when you’re with people. Actually be there in that moment with them.
I find more and more these days people can be in the same room together, but they’re not really there. Lost in the virtual, highlight reel world of Facebook and Instagram.
Now tools like that are so good to stay in touch with people.
But “touch” is a literal thing.
Look up from your phone and into the eyes of the person next to you.
Spend more time with them. Not virtual them.
Nothing is more beautiful than the human connection. Studies have shown that looking into someone’s eyes or hugging someone for only a few minutes can create a strong bond – something you’ll never get through tagging them in a picture.
Have adventures with people!
As I said at the start – going back to a familiar place helps you see the ways in which you’ve changed.
Some things I noticed, I did not like. It’s too easy to not pay attention, to forget people. But the best thing about change, is that it is always evolving. Time for change again, for softer, sweeter words.
If the world ended tomorrow, you’ll have wished you spent time with the people who meant the most to you. You’ll have wished you said how you felt.
Don’t give up your precious time to your phone or sleep or “I’ll do it later.”
Don’t let “What If?” haunt your thoughts.
Because at the end of the day – the most important thing in the world…well
He tangata, he tangata, he tangata
It is the people, it is the people, it is the people.