Am I the only one who worries about losing people, afraid that with each life change or move, some important people, both friends and family, will drop off, never to be seen again? In my experience, that seems to be what happens.
When my husband and I moved from Brooklyn to New Jersey with our first-born infant, we made many friends in our new community, but lost touch with almost everyone we’d known in the city. That forty-minute drive and our changing circumstances put the kibosh on a number of relationships.
It also happened with my brother when he left New York and moved to California. For years we hardly saw each other and were practically strangers. It’s only now, 35 years later that we’re getting reacquainted. We could probably thank a health scare and our children for that.
As we go through life, it seems inevitable that some of those that we were closest to at one stage will slowly drift away when we move on to the next. I get that. We change, they change and what we had in common no long exists. But what I’m talking about are those close friends and family members, not acquaintances, who knew and cared about me and my family and me, them and theirs. I’m sure I would still have plenty in common with them if we were in touch again. I’ve changed, but I’m essentially still the same person. I imagine they are too.
Instead, if it weren’t for Facebook, that much maligned, but blessed conduit for communication, I wouldn’t know where so many friends and family are living and what they’re up to.
I know for a fact that it’s possible to maintain old friendships. I have observed that some people do manage to keep their oldest friends. I’m even friends with some of these people. They are the ones who go on vacations with classmates from high school and college and somehow manage to stay in constant communication with them. But that’s not been my experience. Is it because these people have never moved? Or is it that their lives have been more predictable than mine?
My Catholic guilt (yes, every religion and ethnic group has their own form of guilt) would say it’s my fault. I should have kept up, called more often, made that extra effort. In some cases, that’s true. Anyone who knows me knows I hate the telephone. But I also think these lost connections are the result of our fluid, modern society. So few of us stay where we grew up. So many of us change course midstream. Maybe that’s one reason Facebook is so successful with my generation. It’s an antidote to that fluid, modern society giving us a painless way to reconnect.
Deborah Nolan has three romances, SUDDENLY LILY, CONFLICT OF INTEREST and SECOND ACT FOR CARRIE ARMSTRONG. When she is not writing or enjoying New York City, she practices family law, representing children, in Columbia County, New York.