Chapter 79: Old Acquaintances

One of the great things about this blog and being on Facebook has been connecting with old friends.  And learning which people are truly “friends” and which are “acquaintances.”

There are people I barely know or still have never met, in person, whose interaction and comments I cherish.  I firmly believe Facebook and blog friends can be as real as friends you see in person everyday.  Cyber friendship is one of the keys to life in the 21st Century.

It’s friendship made easy, which may be a contradiction in terms.

It’s also nice to again come across people who have crossed your path in life and see how they are doing.  Some will never know how fond you are of them and that you watch their pages on Facebook just to see how their lives have developed, how they are doing and that you watch them from a distance, like some benign guardian angel, just to be sure they are okay.

I’ve frequently said there are two types of friendship: Those that are specific to a time and a place and those that last forever regardless of time and place.

Some times the two types do blend together, evolve or converge, over time,  and that’s incredibly sweet- that you are different people than who you were during that shared time and place, but that you still have that connection, that bond.  You may have taken different paths for a few years, but your roads converge again.  And even though your lives are now very different and over the years you may have become very different people, you still have a connection.

The more painful kind of “friendship” is when you connect with people you loved at a specific time and a  place in your life and you find you are now such different people that the connection is gone.  And you have to let go…

I’ve been blessed with more of the prior types of friendships than the latter, but the ones you have to let go do stand out.  It hurts to say good-bye, especially when you have found each other again after many years.  But sometimes, good-bye is best for you both.

I’ve become more and more aware that, to borrow a phrase from my Corporate Diversity training days, people see life through different lenses.

I have also found truth and knowledge are sometimes relative to the lens you view them through….

I’ve also become more and more aware that, if you are lucky, as you age you become more and more your true self and that self-squared personality can exclude or challenge some people from your past.  But, to me, the purpose of life if it is to find out who you are and what you believe life to be.  And then to choose with whom to share the journey.

I think I can honestly say, I’ve become more honest and more “myself” as I’ve aged- for better or worse.  That means I both care more and care less….depending on the circumstances.

And this blog has been therapeutic.  I’ve revisited the past, gained some perspective, learned what to embrace and learned what to let go of…  And it’s been a hell of a lot cheaper than therapy.  And I’ve enjoyed that journey so much, I plan to continue it.  And continue to  report on my life as I see it through my own lenses.

I’ve lost the friendship of two key people in my life through this cyber journey.  I don’t think that’s a bad number.  I wish it was zero, but that’s not realistic.  As we grow older and became more true selves, there is bound to be conflict with others we have spent time with on the journey through life as your lenses adjust and evolve to changing circumstances and knowledge.

My sister and I view the past through very different lenses.  We will have to continue to work on that.  The good and bad thing about family is that you are stuck with them.  You have to work it out whether you like it or not.

Friends can say good-bye and walk away….

I’ve said good-bye to the Daisy Buchanan of my college days.  A girl one of my best friends loved and lost, who crossed my path briefly on Facebook, then it became clear we weren’t the people we once were.  I still cherish the memory of who she was and wish her the best.   But, it was obviously best for her not to keep in touch with me.  There was too much separate history since college, too many different paths were taken,  and we had become too different from who were were then….

We now see life through different lenses and the time and place of our friendship has passed.  I still wish her the best and treasure the memory of who she once was….but it was time to say good-bye.

I was just “defriended” on Facebook yesterday by an old friend, of almost 40 years,  who knew me when I was young, who shared so many good times and good friends, but who seems to think I’ve changed.

I have.

I’m not the closeted, fearful, small town gay man focused on living up to other’s expectations that I was when she knew me best.  I’m more secure and out-spoken.  Back then, I still lived in fear of what others might think of me.  Now, with each passing year, I care less and less and fear less and less what others may think of me.  I haven’t forgotten who I was, I’ve only become more of who I am and was meant to be….

Funny that, through this experience, I’ve realized people also see me through different lenses and I guess I’ll have to accept that.  God knows, I talk about how I see them through my personal lens on this blog…

We all have to accept that we change and our lenses change over time.  We either appreciate and accept our past as viewed through these different lenses, look for common ground in our present or watch from a distance and wish them the best.  Or we say goodbye.

Sometimes, changes by those from our past challenge our own perceptions of people and make it necessary for us to adjust our own view of who we are ourselves.  This sometimes makes us question our choices and if we have truly become more of who we are, or should be, or if we have become more of what people expect us to be after all.

To me, that is the key choice:  either we decide to find out who we are and celebrate that person or we have to spend our lives trying to be who others want us to be.

I made my choice and I will try to respect those who chose otherwise….

I relish the incomplete journey forward to find more of who I truly am and to understand how the past helped form that person.  To me, that is also a key part of the journey in my life-finding the balance between past, present and future.  Learning from who we were as we struggle to find out who we are and were meant to be…Looking over our shoulders at the past, and learning from it,  while we keep moving forward.

 Some of us share the road leading towards self-discovery and change.  Some folks have chosen to step off on a different path- and that just might be the key fork in that road we shared for a time…

We might just have said good-bye a long time ago without realizing it….

The question remains if we can ever say hello again….

I’m happy with my choice and I hope they are with theirs….

Enough reflection….

More fun posts to come….

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8 Responses to Chapter 79: Old Acquaintances

  1. Scott, as usual, great post.

  2. Vickie Price says:

    Well said and heart-felt. While I too have felt sadness of the nostalgic kind for the friendships that now belong to another time and place, I still value them for what have brought to my life, how they changed my life, and how both of us moved on. The word “de-friend” is not necessary the best word for that letting go although I don’t have another one at this moment.

  3. Frank Carter says:

    Great thoughts. Sometimes we have friends just waiting to be made…sometimes we have a lot in common and just don’t know it. Keep writing.

  4. Sandy says:

    Great post! We are an example of reconnecting through Facebook and so glad we did. Wish we had less distance between us so that we can actually visit! One day!😊

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