Sunday, July 24, 2011

Maybe it doesn't read as badly as it sounded in my head.

This has been drifting around in my head lately. I don't know really how to write it out without sounding like a complete bitch. So I'll preface, I guess, by saying that I have been very lucky to have some great friends in my life. In every state, in every life-stage, in every weird situation in which I've found myself, I've always had some kind of support system, someone who was always there to make me laugh so hard milk would have shot out of my nose, if I was a milk drinker. I'm certainly not looking a gift horse in the mouth. And I am not belittling the importance of these people in those stages of my life. I have a great memory and these individuals are right there, every detail just as vivid as if it were yesterday, and I hold them in the same esteem as I always have. I'm thankful for them. So it's hard for me to not sound like an inconsiderate bitch as I go on.

Thanks to the wonders of social media, a lot of those friends come back. This is a great thing. With each discovery, we get to experience those good times all over again, sit back and remember the good, the bad, the ugly, all knowing that we wouldn't be the we we are without them. We might send a little note, hey, how are you, where are you these days, you look great. And then, well, then, they do their thing and we do ours and it's just a really great feeling to know that they are there, hovering in the background, while we live our lives and they live theirs. It's like, everyone wants to be a part of some one's memory, and social media (the recreational kind, not necessarily when used for marketing..) allows that to happen. It's warm and fuzzy and makes you feel like you made an impact of some kind to someone at some time.

(Here's where I feel like an ingrate) But sometimes our "now" lives are so different than our "then" lives that when the "then" people come back, we don't have an enormous amount of time to spend on them. Everybody has SOME time, just not ALL the time. Like DAILY time. Or even three or four times a week time. Or even ONCE a week time. It's not that we don't want to know what's going on with them, we probably do, but there's just so much else going on that it's kind of hard to add a whole other person, with their needs and requirements and feelings in tow, to the list of obligations. So the phone calls slow down or go unanswered, email is answered maybe not quite so right-away, promises to converse are maybe just a little less enthusiastic.

Why can't it just sort of stay in the past? Memories are a fun and fabulous way to relive your life, when you have the time to kick back and reminisce. It's great to reconnect, fabulous, really, but when it starts to become an issue if you don't get back to someone right away, or if you can't take the last four phone calls, and so you don't, isn't it sort of ruining the memory of the "then" with the irritation of the "now"?

I have long thought that a friendship that makes you have to take a deep breath and paste on a smile before you start a conversation is probably not that great of a friendship. Friendships are supposed to be easy and natural. If you see someone on your caller ID, your reaction shouldn't be "shit" said under your breath before you consider the consequences of not answering. Sure, there was a time when I was happy to see that phone call come through. But it starts to get a little tainted when the phone call comes through daily, at crazy hours, when I am in the middle of my "now" life. So I don't answer. Because I can't drop everything and be someone I was twenty years ago for two hours. Nobody has that kind of time. Right?

So here's the gist of it: People come in to our lives for a reason, and we are so grateful to have that connection, that camaraderie, that support. They propel us forward as we live and grow and become a part of society. And sometimes they come back in to our lives, years later, and it's great - hey, hi, you've done so well. An occasional phone call, a more than occasional email update, all fabulous things. But when you start feeling like you HAVE to keep up this friendship that took a twenty year hiatus, and you find yourself running to another room when the phone rings, or you wake up feeling guilt and dread because you said you'd try to call sometime this week but you just haven't had the time, well, I don't know. It just shouldn't be that much work.

It just should be enough to stay in the "then" and keep the "now" to a minimum. Because the "now" is worlds away from the "then", and there's nothing anyone can do to change that.


At 1:29 PM, July 25, 2011, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, I was just thinking about this. I wish to HELL you'd stop calling me EVERY 5 MINUTES! :) BH (See you Friday)


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