Sunday, October 26, 2008

Why Look Back?

When my husband urged me to sign up for Facebook, I had a moment of hesitation. He was enjoying finding old friends, and having them find him.

I, on the other hand, shuddered at the thought.

Yes- I’m one of the myriad of people who did not enjoy high school. (Elementary school wasn’t much better, but I do have a friend or two from back then that I’ve happily kept in touch with over the years.)

I know it’s cliché. And I find it ironic that I wound up teaching high school for 15 years.

I’ve always felt that if you haven’t been in touch with someone for 10, 20, 30, 40 years, there’s a reason. That theory found some justification almost 30 years ago when my husband and I attended a reunion of a youth group we belonged to when we were teenagers. There was a roomful of people who hadn’t seen each other in years, and after about 10 minutes, the conversations pretty much died out. Little pockets formed of people who had remained friends, but there wasn't much interaction between those groups. I remember two incidents of ‘mixing’ which resulted in mumblings of ‘what a bitch!’

I definitely prefer to leave the past in the past and instead focus on the friends I have now (many of whom have been my friends for 30 years and longer), and in looking forward to making new friends.

I’ve been wondering about people who make an effort to find old classmates. I’ve noticed one or two people who seem to have a compulsion to root out people from their past. Is something missing from their current lives? Do they have very fond memories of times past, and hope to touch them again? Are they lonely? Or h ealthfully nostalgic?

Honestly, I don’t mean to sound judgmental. I’ve always been somewhat in awe of people who’ve had happy childhoods, and who have close families. (No need for me to get into that now, especially as I’m sure it will find its way into future posts.)

For some reason I can’t fully fathom, I wound up listing my high school when I signed up for Facebook. Wouldn't you know, I was contacted by a couple of my old classmates.

Of course, I Googled them. I found that they were highly credentialed professionals. One of them was even in a field that had at one time pretty much consumed me. They are the sort of women I would love to meet and have as friends.

You won’t find me attending any high school reunions. But maybe, just maybe, there is room in my life for a touch of the past.

Not too much, though. I definitely prefer looking ahead.

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