The internet has brought the world closer together, there's no denying it. Businessmen from Kansas are exchanging idea's with College Students in Bangkok. Mother's and daughters on opposite coasts are twittering recipes to one another. But distance isn't the only the gap the internet has allowed us to bridge. We've been given the opportunity to travel back in time as well. For proof all you have do is take a look at the friends listed on your Facebook profile.
I have 59 friends listed on my facebook profile (what . . . you don't have 315 like everyone else?) and over half of them are from my high school years. These are people that I knew (some better than others) thirty four or more years ago. What does that tell you? What it tells me is that those four years were a special time in my life and I'll welcome any and all who'd like to help me celebrate it.
I moved away from the place I attended high school (Havelock NC) the day after graduation and I've never been back, although I have thought about it plenty of times. For decades my only link to that time was the yearbooks that were buried in a box, collecting dust in the attic. When it came time for the schools 25th class reunion I stumbled across a web-site promoting the gathering. I was intrigued and curious. What would the guys that I sat around a cafeteria table with talking about girls, be like now? What would those girls be like? I joined the site and started re-familarizing myself. As a result, I reconnected with my best friend (Greg) from school and developed a lasting friendship with a woman (Karen) I barely knew while I was at HHS. One of the most surprising things I discovered by surfing that site was how much I had forgotten. Or at least I thought I had forgotten. The more I messaged back and forth with my old classmates, the more that came back to me. And as the memories returned, I realized that my problem wasn't I had forgotten so much. The truth was that I really didn't know the people I went to school with very well, both then and now.
I am not one of those people who cry about hating high school, who cut class whenever they had the opportunity. I liked going to school. I got along with the majority of my teachers. I liked seeing my friends. Everyday was an adventure in social exploration. I didn't have all that many friends, but the ones I had were important to me. I know now that I was seen as being aloof, standoffish, but in reality I was just painfully shy. That prevented me from getting to know so many more of my truly intersting classmates.
I made it a point to tell both of my children (who are in college now) to always spread their wings, to try and make friends with their classmates outside their normal social circle. Even if it's painful or embarassing. Make the attempt.
The memories you really miss, are the ones you never make.