How many of your friendships have lasted more than ten years? Which of your current friends do you feel will still be important to you ten years from now?
I feel like this is a question that I have asked and answered several times throughout the years on this blog. As a kid, I used to be bad at keeping friends. The curse of youth and being a military brat and moving around are my excuses. Still feel regret about loosing touch with Danny Flack after moving back to The States from Korea. Then there was meeting Rose at San Leandro High and not recognizing her at all (I’m still skeptical on that one because she looks nothing like her yearbook picture). There are people in San Leandro and Vacaville that I wish that I had done a better job in keeping touch with. San Francisco too. And there is Suzanne and Josef. But the invention of the internet and Facebook specifically, for good or bad, has helped me keep in touch with past friends that I probably wouldn’t have without it. How would you even try to find someone pre-internet or before Facebook (or MySpace for that matter). I don’t remember the search engines on Geocities or AOL Instant Messenger being that robust. So I definitely have more friendships intact than I should have every right to, especially with stunts like the Year 2000 purge and my ongoing bouts of depression. 223 friends according to Facebook and then the +/- 50 that are not on Facebook or social media. I’m comfortable with that number, again considering my depression. And most of these friendships are 10+ years from San Leandro, Vacaville, San Francisco, and here in Seattle. The challenge for me is I have to push myself to reach out to people. The depression makes me want to just stay in bed and hide away, but I to fight it every day. I guess the “bad” side of the Facebook friends is that it is easy to put a mask up to keep people from getting too close. A picture of the dog or a cat meme and everything is hunky-dory(?). Like a few post or pictures and people will move on down their news page. It’s easier to hide and be in pain without people prying or asking about it, which is bad. We only post the good stuff on Facebook or Instagram, never the bad. But there are a few that check in with me in other ways whether to call, text, or message. And although it doesn’t seem like it, I am thankful for those people giving me an anchor to this mortal plane to hang on to so the darkness doesn’t completely pull me away. And I think that all of my friends will be important to me in ten years. The thing with friendships is that they are like the ebbs and flows of the tides in the oceans…maybe. They change throughout the years because we are all changing and shuffling around in this universe, but no matter the distance or time, if they are true friends they will be there and you can just pick up where you left 5, 10, 25 years ago.
Just an aside that I can’t figure where to place it, I feel that writing letters to people has helped me connect back with people. With a letter, you have to section off a block of time to get tools, write your thoughts down, and mail it off. But with letters, I have time to be a little more open with my thoughts than with a social media post, or even an email. There is an added layer of intimacy in writing with a nice fountain pen, some quality ink, and nice paper. And events like #InCoWriMo has helped me with this also.