friends

It’s definitely you and not me

Dear Facebook,

I am on the verge of breaking up with you.

You used to be fun. You used to be that extroverted friend I would check in with every day, more than once a day I might add. I used to be able to see my friends posts; what was going on in their lives, who was getting married, having a baby, other day-to-day life events that they chose to share. It was a social gathering place. It was one of the early, online social gathering places where friends from all over the world could connect or even reconnect after years apart.

But lately, you’ve changed. No longer is it “social”. Now my feed is full of pages sharing their latest post which usually is just click bait, followed by an ad, followed by maybe one of two friends statuses, and then more page posts and ads.

And before you give me all sorts of helpful information on how to “see this friends post first” or that I should unlike some of the pages, I have done this. I even created “lists” so I could easily see groups of friends and what they chose to share. But recently it seems that you don’t like that idea, so you’ve made it more difficult to access these shortcuts.

So you see, it’s not me. It’s definitely you.

Please, let’s bring back the social aspect of “social media” that you used to be and let me get my “media” from somewhere else more fitting to serve me the news, ads and other detritus.

 

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Memories, regrets, and choices…

A dear friend sent me a text a while back that said “Guess who I saw at my school today?” Now this is someone I have known for almost 30 years so the possibilities were many. When she told me who it was (and all the people in most of this story will remain nameless so as to not embarrass anyone other than myself), it brought back a flood of memories. Some good, some funny, some sad, and some that made me sit and wonder “what were you thinking?”

But the more I thought about it, the more I realized, those experiences made me who I am today. While I may not have made great choices during this particular time in my life, I wouldn’t change those decisions. I didn’t break any laws, (unless you count the time I ran that red light with a cop behind me and another one next to me and somehow didn’t get a ticket), but I did break some hearts, I did manage to screw up the trust between people, and I did put myself through some hurt.

Even so, there were good things that came out of this time as well. Friendships that have stood the test, not only of time, but of good and bad judgment, or many miles and years in between. These are the friends that I know will always be there, till the end of our days, regardless of where life may take us. These are also the friends that will keep the secrets that we shared, the tears that were shed, the fears that were faced, and know where the bodies are buried. I treasure them all and I hope that they know that too.

Then there are those that should probably stay in the past. They say you should never google old loves. For the most part, they are right. There is usually a good reason they are “old” loves and the past should stay in the past. But over the past week I’ve been looking up childhood friends, reconnecting with some on facebook, and finding some have gone on to do some pretty cool things. This of course led me down the rabbit trail of googling said old boyfriends. Some have almost zero digital footprint, which I find amazing in these days of oversharing and everything being online. Others have volumes written about them, that fills many of the results pages of the google search. And then there was Harry.

Harry will be the only one I name because I came across this.

h stauffer (Click here to read the entire tribute)

I met Harry during my “Rocky Horror” days, or should I say weekends, in the early to mid 1980’s. I spent many Friday and Saturday nights at the old Kings Court Theater, dressing up in costume, acting out various parts or just participating in the audience. Many friendships were forged in this misfit band that came together for this crazy cult classic. And over time some of these friendships blossomed into more romantic relationships.

Regardless of how risque and revealing the costumes were, Harry was always the gentleman. Looking back on it, his was probably the most revealing of all, since he was pretty much running around in a gold speedo most of the night. But he always looked out for the girls in the group. He made sure we were walked to our cars, he hung out nearby, watching, and if it seemed like a guy was trying something inappropriate, he stepped in and made sure everything was okay. We dated for less than a year, and then I went off to college out of town. We tried to make the long distance relationship work, but it didn’t happen. It ended rather abruptly, a phone message on the dorm phone, saying goodbye. I was hurt, angry, miserable, and then life went on. Other guys came and went, school ended for the year, I went home, dropping out for the time and moving on to what would be the next phase in life.

About a year later, he called again on day, out of the blue, asking if we could meet. I wasn’t sure how it would turn out, the old hurt came back to haunt me. But I agreed. We met up where I was working at the time and had a polite conversation, catching up on what had happened in both our lives. It made me realize just how much growing up I had done in that years time, and how much it seemed he hadn’t changed. I suppose the age difference between us (7 years) was a part of that. But the other part was just life experiences that I had gone through, both good and bad, that made me the person I was becoming. Abruptly I asked him to leave and not contact me again. I could see the hurt in his eyes, but he agreed and wished me well. With a hug, he was gone.

Fast forward 25+ years and you find me googling him, purely out of curiosity as to what ever became of him, hoping for the best, not knowing what I would find. I was saddened to read of his passing, even though it’s been over 10 years since he died and over 25 since the last time we spoke, the news was fresh to me. Reading over the tribute I see he lived a full life. He accomplished what he set out to do, making his part of the world a better place. His life and memory still touch many due to the fact that a scholarship has been created in his name.

And I think back over the time we had together, and I realize I have no regrets. I have memories of good times, funny stories, and the impact he made on my life. Because he was a part of my life, I made choices that have brought me to where I am today. And this is true of all of those that have crossed my path over the past 48 years. So I can honestly say, no regrets, just the memories are what I take with me throughout my life.

Parenting A Tween

As a parent there is a lot to consider these days: education, diet & exercise, extra circular activities, general household rules… you get the idea. As a parent of a tween (soon to be teen) there seems to be a whole other dimension added to that I now get to experience. Fortunately (or maybe not) I remember my middle school years. I count myself lucky to still be in contact with my best friend from all those years ago too. (She knows where all the skeletons are buried)

I asked the question on facebook and got a variety of responses, and will ask it here too, because I enjoy the conversations it can generate and learning others views helps to expand mine.

Do you google or facebook/twitter search the boyfriends or girlfriends of your kids?

Growing up in the day before all this technology my parents knew the neighbors, they knew the kids I hung out with, they knew the principal at my school (at least through middle school anyway). They knew the pharmacist at the shop down the street, they knew neighbors on other streets that recognized me when I was out running around with my friends. It wasn’t easy to get away with things then. Don’t get me wrong, I did get away with some stuff and I did get caught doing other things I shouldn’t have. I expect this of kids of any generation. But because of the availability of information and the willingness of so many to share information with seemingly complete strangers in some regards, where do you draw the line? How much information is too much? When is it not enough?

Parent or not share your thoughts in the comments below.

Statistics

I never really liked statistics. In fact it was the one class I failed in college. I wound up changing majors, so I didn’t have to take it again thankfully. But one thing I have found about statistics is that they tell me where all of my readers are coming from. And that part of it is fun for me.

In the past week I’ve had visitors from: Everett, Snohomish, Redmond, and Spokane Washington, Honolulu Hawaii, Cumming, Alpharetta, Douglasville, Lithia Springs, and Marietta Georgia, Centre Alabama, Lanse Michigan, Norman and Purcell Oklahoma, Tuepelo Mississippi, Pittsburgh, Grove City, and Hazelton Pennsylvania, Fresno and Los Angeles California, Manchester England, Nordrhein-Westfalen Strae, Germany, Cholla-namdo Naju, Republic of Korea, Montreal Quebec Canada, Paris France, and Dubai, United Arab Emirates – just to name some of the places represented. Some of these places I had to get out the atlas to find, so I’ve actually gotten a geography lesson out of the statistics as well. And please, don’t feel left out if I didn’t list your area. Yesterday was such a busy day, it completely blew my mind and added so many other places that I hadn’t already listed. I’m thankful for everyone of you.

Now I can’t say for certain how some of you may have found me and this blog, but I can say this. I’m glad you’ve stopped by. You’ve introduced me to some new places and brought back memories of other places I’ve been and lived.

So keep coming back, and let me know where you are from. I love learning about new places.

Creative Culture & Community

I read this post this morning from Randy Elrod and it really got me thinking about the community we create around us. While we may not all be the creative type he speaks of, but we all have something to offer and share with those around us. But in this world of social media and technology driven society, we have a tendency to lose the personal interaction that comes with a close knit group that we share life with.

I remember growing up in Highland Park and the sense of comfort that came from being surrounded by people that I knew and shared life with. Every 4th of July our street would have a block party. One side of the street would be responsible for salads, the other side desserts. Main courses were brought by each family, and we would block off the entire street for the day. Games would be played, a bike parade for the kids was held (and we would decorate our bikes like it was the Rose parade if we could), and the evening was capped off with square dancing, sparklers and fireworks. It was a big deal, and we all looked forward to it every year. But it was also the other 364 days in between that established that sense of community and togetherness that we all shared. Whether it was picking mulberry’s & honeysuckle in the neighbors backyard, sledding down the hill in the winter time, or riding our bikes until well after dark in the summer – this was the place to be. We shared in the good times and the not so good times.

And that is what creating community is all about. The sharing and interacting with others. Finding something in common that brings you together and then exploring the differences you all bring as well.

Want ideas on how to create this kind of community where you are? Spence Smith (another member of the “Franklin Campus”) has a great follow up post to Randy’s. Have ideas to share? Comment below. I look forward to the community we have here, but I also look forward to the community I can create around where I am now too.

Thankful

I know it’s not Thanksgiving yet, but today I am thankful. Okay, so we should be thankful everyday, but for the past couple of days I have been thinking about this more than usual. Maybe because I’ve had more time to actually think, maybe because I’m in a new place and haven’t yet made new friends or gotten involved in new activities, maybe it’s been some of the other blogs I’ve been reading and what others have written has challenged me. Whatever the reason, it’s been on my mind and heart.

Now the typical prayer that you always hear around thanksgiving is one that may go something like… thank you for our family & friends, those that are here with us today and those that are far away. Thank you for our blessings and for this food… blah, blah, blah. But have you really taken the time to think about what and who you are thankful for?

In reflecting on this idea, I’ve thought of a lot of people that I’ve had the opportunity to connect with in my life. Some may have been there for many years, some for just a day.  Some of these people I have yet to meet in person, although I do hope to someday. Others have been generous in their time and have met me, not knowing me from a stranger on a bus prior to our meeting. But they all have one thing in common – they have all affected me and contributed to who I am today and who I am becoming tomorrow.

Most won’t be named, some will. Some might be forgotten in this list, because there are many. But even if you aren’t mentioned by name or if you feel you’ve been left out, know that you haven’t.

First off (and this one seems pretty obvious) but it’s my parents. No matter what I’ve done, they have always been there for me. And I know for this I am lucky. There are many out there who can not say this about their parents, and my heart grieves for them. I don’t think I could ever express though how thankful I am for them.

Teachers – over the years I have had some incredible teachers, incredibly good and incredibly bad. And now that I am a parent, I realize even more the impact that teachers have on our lives and our society. If you are a teacher, thank you. If you know a teacher, thank them too.

Past “loves”. This one is kind of weird, but if it weren’t for past boyfriends I wouldn’t be the wife I am today. Dean may or may not be thankful for that one. 🙂 But regardless, their opinions of me, the way they treated (or mis-treated) me, have also made me who I am.

Friends. There are so many I won’t even begin to try to list. There have been the “true” friends. Those that no matter how much time passes, you just pick right up where you left off the last time. They know your heart and your warts, and yet they still love you for  who you are. There are also the “social” friends. Those that you are thrown into life with due to whatever social circumstance you may find yourself in. And sometimes they become the true friends, others are just in your life for that season. And then there are the “superficial” friends. Those that you think are your friend, but come to find out you were just there for a one time use. Regardless of how they have made me feel, they still have impacted my life, and taught me a lesson I may not have otherwise learned.

The last group is one that I call “acquaintances”. These are the people that don’t realize the impact they’ve had on my life, but have in some way said something or done something to change my direction. Whether it be advice they have given, a contact that has been made, or just a different perspective of things that I might not have seen before. There are many that fall in to this group – and they will never know what they’ve done – they are usually the one time meeting, never to be seen again. Or maybe they are the author of a blog or an article that I read, their words having a lasting impact. Whoever they are, wherever they may be, for them I am thankful too.

So there is my rambling on thankfulness today. And to all of you readers, I’m thankful for you too. For without you, there really wouldn’t be a purpose behind these random drops from my brain.

One Thing

If you could only take one thing with you, what would you take?

I asked my daughter this question the other day, in the midst of disciplining her, and her response, without missing a beat, was “you.” Not something material; like her favorite bear, or her favorite pet, or any of the Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus paraphenalia that covers her room, but something directly from the heart. The sincerity and purity of her response blew me away. It also got me thinking, what one thing would I take? Not just from my home and all the stuff I have collected over the years,  but what one thing would I take from this life?

So, I ask again, if you could only take one thing with you, what would you take?