Sunday, October 9, 2011

Old School Thinking

Did you know me back in high school or college? If so... yeah, sorry about that.

In all seriousness, I'm sure we all have moments from the past we cherish and some we wish had panned out differently. What I think is more interesting is how things evolve. Or, in some cases, fail to.

Just figure: I graduated high school in 1997 and college four years later. Some of the folks I shared a walk to "Pomp & Circumstance" with haven't been in touch with me for at least 10 years. I don't even know these people, at least.

How much have you changed in 10 years? Judging by how much I have changed, probably more than a little.

Yet, when I see a Facebook update from a friend from high school or spot a once-familiar face on a trip back to where I grew up, I seem to not give the person that credit.

And it's not fair.

What I mean is, I might hear something from my mom about such-and-such who I went to high school with who's now doing this-or-that-with-so-and-so. It can be things that are good or bad, but I process the information with whatever impression I had of the person in question when I last saw him or her regularly. I might think something like "Oh yeah, he was always that kind of guy..." or "She always does that..."

Truth is... if I haven't had a substantial conversation with the person in 10-15 years, how should I know?

I love Facebook for oh-so-many reasons, not the least of which is that it helps me keep up with the busy lives of some of my closest friends like never before. But for the more acquaintance-type people I see on there, it has made me realize the fallacy of the way I think about people.

An example... a friend from back in the day posted a major relationship change several months back involving another person from that same era of life. I immediately reacted to the situation as though it was more than a decade ago.

I had to step back. Looking at myself, I am so much different now than I was then (hopefully better for it, too). Why couldn't I give this other person that benefit of the doubt? I was reacting like the person in question had been frozen in time and never changed. Not cool, on my part.

It's things like this that keep me wary of ever going to a high school or college reunion. I have kept in very close touch with a group of people, and others to a lesser extent. But I don't fancy enjoying spending time with people where we all assume we're pretty much the same people we knew at graduation.

I hope this makes sense... or that this has happened to you (has it? I'm nuts? OK.)

I do think it's fascinating how our lives and interests evolve... friends converge and diverge, often for no other reasons than people start living lives that head in different directions. Yet, I think there is something in us that wants us to feel like we "know" all those who were close to us at a certain time.

If so, I'm resolving to stop it.


Ann said...

I'm not sure I've ever commented before but this post struck a chord. I can completely understand where you're coming from and I find myself in the same situation... recognizing the significant changes I've made in my own life over the last 15 years but not necessarily thinking to recognize those changes in others. I find myself more likely to make those assumptions with Facebook - there's so much opportunity to catch a glimpse of someone's life but little opportunity to really understand it.

And that's all of the blog commenting I'm capable of so I'll return to my usual mode of acquaintance who reads. :)

Jay said...

Thanks for commenting, Ann! And glad to hear I'm not the only one...