*Update ~ August 14, 2011: I've had a change of heart. I am confronting my past head-on. Anyone who wants to find me and befriend me on facebook is welcome! Come one, come all!
When I was ten years old I was a wonderful best friend. I was attentive, engaging, loyal, fun, enthusiastic, curious, and kind.
Then I moved out of state. I lost some of those qualities.
Then I moved again, and again, and again. Twenty or thirty, maybe forty more times. Each time I said goodbye to all my friends and started over, rarely to reconnect with any of these lost loves.
Overtime I became much less enthusiastic. Why bother investing in new relationships if they are just going to end?
I find people who have had old friends since childhood to be interesting. Is it a sense of comfort for them? Stability? History? Can it also be a burden, suffocating and stifling change and growth? I suppose there are good and bad to be found in both arrangements.
I’ll never know the life-long set-up. It’s too late for me. It isn’t however too late for others to toss their current lives to the wind and start fresh. Though I’m not sure how well they’d cope. It surely would remove them far from their comfort zones. I’m not really recommending this lifestyle. But I can’t say I think it is all-bad either. It has its perks.
Perk one is anonymity. I can get lost in the crowd. I can go to the movies, the market etc. and be invisible. I don’t have to fear running into an old boyfriend or annoying former classmate.
Secondly, I can grow and change. I am not required to be the same old Jehne that everyone expects me to be. I can reinvent myself time and time again. I don’t owe anyone consistency. I don’t have to remain complacent to allow others to feel safe.
As a result of my choices and moves my social world is small. Very small. In fact, I’d feel right at home in a small tribal village—of five. That is if we had lots of personal space e.g. our own huts and land. I couldn’t bear to be under anyone’s wing. Nor would I want them cramping my style.
This quiet social life of mine is my preference. But I know it is not for everyone. Humans are social animals—so the social scientists claim. Maybe I am only part human.
Social network websites allow us to connect us with friends, family, and co-workers. They enable millions to develop new relationships and reconnect with people from their pasts. Facebook is the most successful at this, having 750 million active users worldwide. It is now easier than ever to find a lost love or old friend from junior high. This would seem to be a good thing for transient types such as myself. But I really have no desire to reunite with people from my past. If I wanted to maintain those relationships, I would have made an effort way back then.
Though admittedly, I am curious to know what they have been up to. Are they married? Do they have kids? Do they still live in the city we once shared? But after those questions are answered, my interest wanes.
I have located over thirty people from my past on facebook. Most of them are living where I left them. Some have new kids and marriages. I wonder if they have tried to find me.
Last November my first husband and son’s father, Israel, contacted me through MySpace. He tells me he had been searching for David and I for years. A friend of his had suggested he search MySpace for my son’s name. Bingo. We were found.
David and I video chatted with Israel on Skype for hours. It was a great experience. Both David and I felt a sense of closure. We were both happy to learn that Israel has been taking care of his mother ever since he returned to his birth nation in 1994. His father had died and his mom needed someone to care for her. Israel took on that responsibility. He never remarried and had no more children. David was really happy about this. So was I, strangely enough. It’s as if we were happy to know we were the only ones.
David was trying to get us back together. Even grown kids do this. But, why would I want to hook-up with someone from my past? Didn’t I say goodbye for a reason? Isn’t that reason still valid?