week #3 cousins@100

When was your last family gathering? I have 9 first cousins and also 5 brothers and sisters who all range in age from 24 to 51. With that age gap and also due also to location, I haven’t always seen that much of them over the years. I thought that the new year would be a great time to see if they were keen for a meet up. As they are now all adults I would like to get to know them a bit better, update our contact, and to meet their other halves too.

I find that January is usually a bit of a meh* (*see glossary) month so would be a good time for a gathering, then looking at dates I suddenly noticed that our Grandmother’s birthday fell mid month and not only that but also it would have been her centenary this year, 1920-2020. A 100th birthday party? Decision made for me!

I gathered the contact numbers that I didn’t have, established a Whatsapp group and sent out the invite.

It’s so easy to keep in contact and yet sometimes so hard as well. We have endless opportunities to do so, really requiring minimal effort and yet it just doesn’t happen as daily life takes over. I never take offence whether I hear from someone for months or not. I’m all too well aware that my communications can be intermittent at best and to be honest at the end of a working day getting into a conversation with someone is often the last thing I feel like doing. I also tend to assume that other people feel the same way. I may have that wrong!

However, this is actually strange approach to take. It’s well documented that social networks and regular contact are significant in positive mental health and have a feel good factor all of their own. Whilst I know this is true, and feel a real mood uplift from a chat with a friend or relative, I still frequently choose not to initiate contact, even when it does cross my mind.

Anyway, that’s how lunch came about. I was absolutely delighted to get lots of rapid yes’s by text. My brother booked flights, kids and partners got involved too and all of a sudden we had a London lunch for 23 people.

How much did I enjoy it? A LOT! Lunch went on until 6pm, the wine flowed with lively chat and then most of us headed off to a nearby pub to continue the conversations.

Cousin relationships are an interesting one, we have cousins who look alike, sound alike or have the same sense of humour but may not know each other well at all. We didn’t quite get everyone this time (we could have added another 7!) but next time we’ll hope to scoop up the others too. I felt that the group really appreciated that someone had gone to the effort of putting the event together, so I got the satisfaction of seeing their evident enjoyment as well as having a great time myself. I would recommend this. If you don’t have cousins then perhaps old school or work friends? I may explore this idea further in future challenges.

For scoring, it didn’t come particularly cheap but then we were at a London restaurant and clearly alternative locations/approaches could keep the cost down. Environmentally everyone travelled by train except for four (short) flights. Do it again? A big yes from me. It’s a high scoring one, check out the scores table to see.

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