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.

What Company Are You Keeping?

They say “Misery loves company”. They also say “Keep company with good men, and you’ll increase their number”. And this one “Tell me what company you keep and I’ll tell you what you are”.

What company are you keeping? And by that I mean, what blogs are you reading, who are you following on twitter, who are the friends you are hanging out with, what are you filling your heart, mind, and soul with?

I have been focusing a lot lately on the power of words and the impact they have on me as well as those around me. I have been doing a lot of reading, blogs, books, magazines, and occasionally the dictionary. (Yes, I realize the dictionary is a book, but it’s not something you would normally pick up to read on a regular basis.)

One of the things I have found lately is there is a commonality running through my reading, interactions, and viewing. There have been a few books, posts or articles that I have read that have not been in my normal mainstream of interest. And that is intentional, I do that to challenge my view of something or to learn about a topic I am not familiar with. But for the most part I find that what I read or focus my attention on, pretty much fits right with where I am currently in life. Which got me thinking, if I change what I’m reading or who I’m hanging out with, or what I’m watching, does that also affect my circumstances? Attitude is everything (or so they say). So if that is the case, if I stop reading about other people who are pursuing their dreams yet feeling frustrated, or who are in a difficult spot right now (lost job, big move, new area, physical limitations) will this change the circumstances I find myself in? Is it self induced or do birds of feather really flock together? (Okay, okay, I’ll stop with the quotes now – but they do help illustrate the point.)

I have to be intentional about what I am feeding myself, mentally, physically, and spiritually. Otherwise it is just too easy to fall into a dark place and stay there for an extended period of time.

So how about you? What company are you keeping? What are you feeding yourself?

And as a side note, just exactly who is “they”?

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.