I got on facebook by accident, when a long time friend of the family invited me to be a facebook "friend". It turns out SHE joined facebook to ride herd on her daughter.
Initially I thought I would just use FB as a tool to keep up with her, but as I started adding information about myself to my profile, faces from my past started popping up, and I had this uncontrollable urge to reach out. I really didn't know why, and I wasn't expecting any takers.
Since getting cancer, I have tried to live in the here and now and not get nostalgic--or re-hash old regrets about the past. I also have tried really hard not to worry about my future, but of course I do.
So why did I make connections with old classmates and colleagues, some of whom may not give a shit about what I've been doing--or even remember me? Especially with respect to my classmates, I didn't exactly make a big impression. I just kind of drifted my way through high school.
Getting in touch with former classmates and colleagues was partly an act of narcissism. By connecting, I assumed someone wanted to connect with me, because I'm special. Just ask me.
But I also wanted to connect with them. I have memories of these people that often bubble to the surface of my damaged head. When one has a life-threatening illness like I do, one takes stock of the people in his or her life--good and bad.
The positive piece about getting re-acquainted with these faces from my past is that I can do so without the baggage of school or the workplace. And the lack of direct contact ironically makes it easier to be myself.
When I chat with a former classmate, it's refreshing to find out that I'm not the only one getting older, struggling with the day-to-day business of family, hobbies, or work. And when I chat with a former co-worker, we are equals, just people trying to ride the roller coaster of life and maintain balance.
I only wish we knew that back in the day. I'm not sure we did.