My plunge into the world of social media has had an unexpected effect on my life. Naturally, most of us have spent some time looking up old friends, people we’d rarely thought about in twenty or thirty years. Suddenly we have the ability to peer into their lives when they do happen to cross our minds.
Yes, it’s fun seeing who has lost all his hair, which high school babe magnet is overweight, and if any of your old buddies did something worthwhile with their lives. But every now and then you wonder if all this knowledge is a good thing. Sometimes memories are best left as, just that, memories. The fleeting moments we share with people give us snapshots to save, happy or sad times that make up the mosaic of our lives. But when we have the ability to amend the snapshot, to add twenty years of lost time, it’s as if we’ve gone back in time and tweaked those moments. As Dr. Who has clearly taught us, tweaking time is often a bad idea.
I’m not sure where I’m going with this. I hadn’t intended on suggesting that we turn off facebook and get back to the here and now. I’ve found some friends who now share my views and faith. It’s awesome to reacquaint with a lost friend who has become a new friend again. But other times I’m hit with reality. No one goes through twenty years of life without a good dose of tragedy. And it’s painful to have the image of a happy teenager replaced with the adult who has endured far more pain that you think possible.
Of course, they may think the same about me. From my perspective, I’ve lived a blessed life. My marriage is fantastic, my kids have been virtually problem-free, and I have a good career. But maybe my old friends feel sad for me because I’m not the person I’d dreamed of becoming. Or maybe they’re happy for me because they were sure I’d never amount to much (this is probably most often the case). Either way, the image they had of me, the snapshot in their mind, is altered.
It’s enough to make me stop looking up the people that pop into my head. Maybe I should be happy with those snapshots. Because once they’ve been altered–for the good or bad–you can’t change them back.
What do you think? Have you been thrilled with reconnecting or heartbroken?