Social Networking with the Past
Sometimes, though not often, I find myself remembering my old life with longing. Then I recall the traffic of Los Angeles and am grateful not to be there. Surely, it is not the traffic, the hustle, the crime. I checked out some places I'd lived via Google Maps and they turned into gated communities, i.e., iron gates and barred-windows now protect the apartment buildings. That was a reality check! I am really glad not to live there any longer!
So, what pulls at my heartstrings? Could it be the memories of old friends?
Could others feel as I do? Is this why there exists such a market for social networking sites that allow us to find old friends? Why do we want to find people with whom we did not keep in touch other than putting a chaotic world back in order?
Life has a way of pushing our feet in directions we never thought we would go. We probably would have reconnected with friends long ago, but technology was not available then to do so. If we just hadn't lost our tiny address books where we could hardly fit information. Cell phones got smaller too. We might have kept in touch if they had not moved away where we had no idea to look for them. We'd have kept in touch if we didn't move away to places that needed us more.
As our bodies decline our feet move us away less. We settle into life because we have experienced enough that we need less of the world. What is under every rock is no longer as fascinating. We know what we'll find. New discoveries might be closer to home: gardening, baking, knitting, painting, grandchildren, immediate neighbors, pets. These are less taxing, requiring less energy we no longer have.
We have time now for memories of people when the world was less complicated. We have memories of those we loved like in the Beatles' song, 'In My Life.'
'There are places I'll remember all my life, though some have changed. Some forever, not for better; Some have gone and some remain. All these places have their moments with lovers and friends I still can recall. Some are dead and some are living, in my life I've loved them all. . . .'
Yes, even those with whom we disagreed or misunderstood. Time has a way of changing the past, giving it a pinkish glow of innocense as the world was back then.
Maybe others want to make that call too. Then they quickly put down the phone just when we answer, thinking, 'What if they forgot me? Worse, never cared or have bad memories.'
The reality check is that some may want the past to stay buried. They may not want to remember or forgive old grievances. Their memories are different from ours. They may live solidly in the present. Old wounds may hurt too much. Or, flatly, they simply didn't care as we did.
Still, even if living in the present, some people creep into our minds anyway. How are they? Did life treat them well? Did they find the happiness of marriage that they so desperately wanted? Were they successful in their careers? Did their children turn out well? Did they go back to school? Are they alive? Are they dead? If they died, how did they?
We remember great times with special people. Sometimes we never knew old friends as we would have liked. They became famous and moved on. So, we never needed to ask how they were doing. For the most part, we knew. Still, are they personally happy despite the spin?
If anyone remembering us, wishes us ill, why would he or she bother? Who wouldn't feel that way? Let's hope that the memories others hold of us are good too despite petty moments.
So, to all the people who were, 'In My Life,' if I could just give you hugs, because I've loved you all.
... stay tuned ...