Maintenance. It’s not a glamorous subject, but it’s reality. Our bodies, our houses, our cars need to be looked after and tweaked now and then. For those of us in creative endeavors or, really, for anyone with an active online presence, there are virtual realities to look after. I’ve been going through my website in the new year, checking for squeaky hinges and stuck windows. During the process, I realized that sometimes we have to do more than our own maintenance. In three cases, magazines and newspapers I link to because they’ve got my articles archived had switched to new website systems. In two of the three, my bylines had disappeared. In the third, my links no longer worked at all.

I contacted all three and it wasn’t too complicated to get things straightened out, but it raises an important point. The first part of maintenance is awareness. We’ve got to check things now and then—kick tires, jiggle door knobs. We’ve got to know if a system is functional and, if not, what’s out of whack. If we’re not on top of that, well, in the case of my website, there are links you click on where nothing happens. I’ve still got some of those to straighten out, but I’m well on my way.

There’s always a bigger point, and here’s the one for this post—Nothing so needs maintenance as our relationships with the people close to us. We all know of marriages whose demise started years before the battles, when two people weren’t interacting as often or as well as they had been. They’d lost sight of the fact that people like to be checked in with, to see how they’re doing.

I’m not much on formal resolutions, but I’ve eased myself into trying to do some things better this year. One of those is keeping up with my friends. I’ve always made a point of grabbing lunch or coffee with someone when business takes me to Nashville. I was fortunate enough to catch up with three dear friends that way today. There are more to come. It’s too easy for many of us to withdraw, to think we’ll catch up down the road, to see a friend at a party and say, “Let’s have lunch,” and never follow through. That doesn’t work. We’re zipping through this Disney attraction called life at a good clip. Getting on the rides together makes it so much more worthwhile.

Websites, automobiles, our bodies, and our relationships all need looking after. Join me, won’t you, in making that a priority?