How Facebook changed my view of high school.

"...high school hasn't changed. There's still that one teacher who marches to her own drummer. Those girls are still there, the ones that, even as you grow up, will remain the most beautiful girls you have ever seen close up. The smart kids, who everyone else knew as 'the brains,' but I just knew them as my soul mates, my teachers, my friends. And there's still that one guy with his mysterious confidence who seems so perfect in every way. The guy you get up and go to school for in the morning. ... High school would not have been the same without him. I would not be the same without him. "

One of the things I love about social media is how it connected me with so many people.  Back in 2008, when my 20 year reunion came around, I started reconnected with people from high school.  As the reuniion approached, people showed up back in my life that I had not even thought about in YEARS.

People who I shared classes with, bus trips, lunches, dance performances, and so much laughter.  When I was IN high school I was too busy being- I don't know, indifferent.  I'd like to think I was nice enough to everyone, but in some ways I was too into my own thing to know too much about other peoples issues.  People had thoughts about me- thought I was a big slut, WAY before I actually was.  I never confirmed or denied it.  Maybe I played into it a bit.  I don't know- I don't even care anymore.

But now, I log into facebook- TWENTY FIVE years later and I see my them as my old friends.  I see how their relationships bloom, how their children grow, how they raise their pets, what they do for fun.  How they celebrate their lives and their successes and I share in that- as they share in mine.  I wonder what they think of me now.  How they view my life, as 'nontraditional' as it is.  I wonder if they envy parts of my life, the way I envy parts of theirs.

Some of us have kids who graduated last year, or like me- will graduate THIS year.  And I wonder, how did we get to be THIS age?  We struggle with health issues, health care, unemployment, broken down cars.  We discuss politics, religion and how we're gonna afford to take that vacation.  We share recipes, and pictures of the trouble we got into when we were finally able to get away for the night.

Its strange that these connection are just as important to me now as they were when I was in school.  "We're friends on Facebook..." seems so vague and simple.

But that means that I know where they went on vacation.  I know what they do for a living.  I know if they drink wine.  I know if they have kids, or a pet, or both.  I know when they get promoted, and when a beloved friend of family member dies.  I know when they've had a bad day, or when they want to crawl in bed and sleep for the rest of the week.  I have learned things about them now, that make things back THEN make more sense.  I can look backwards with fondness, taking joy in the rich lives we have created for ourselves.  Knowing for certain that high school was a mere snapshot of our lives.  It was barely a glim,pse of what we would become.  What I know now, is BETTER than what I remember about high school.  We're better now.  We're real people- not just teenagers trying to figure out how to get thru the next few years so we can start being real people.

I enjoy it so much.  It makes my world bigger.


Dangerous Lilly said...

I like this point of view, and you're right.
I've recently-ish become "FB Friends" with some family members, and I know I get to see more into their lives than before...especially my nearly-16 cousin.
But I've been actively turning away people I went to high school with as FB friends for the most part. High school was not the best years of my life; I had a few friends that were true friends, the rest sucked. I've found that even the ones I was once good friends with, I am intolerant of now. We have changed so much, and we are now people very different from each other. Many of them sent me a friend request, and then never ever interacted with me. Then I saw that they had tons of "friends". Like they were collecting cards, seeing how many high school people they could add. Some send me a request and I think "But we were barely acquaintances....why would you want to connect NOW? You didn't care when we lived in the same town"

I'm also a lot more jaded and cranky than you are :)

Anonymous said...

Its pretty cool what blogging can perform. Connect you with all others.