I was thinking the other day–as I do from time to time. I was looking at other people’s Facebook friends, taking a trip down memory lane. And it was really interesting to find out who was friends with whom still. Who still kept in touch. There were some people in high school or junior high that I was surprised to see friends on Facebook.
But why was I surprised?
For a couple of reasons. First, when I was in high school, I made the assumption that the world revolves around me. If I didn’t know something, it wasn’t worth knowing. (Of course, as everyone well knows, this didn’t become a reality until 2002, when the United Nations passed an official The World Revolves around Bryce resolution. Which was nice of them, but really unnecessary.) In other words, it didn’t occur to me–and still hadn’t until the other day–that people might have lives outside of the life I saw them having.
Case in point. In my never-ending Quest to Find People to Play Games With, I reconnected with an old friend from high school. We hung out quite a bit in high school, but it was almost entirely in a band setting. Marching band, Dixie Band, Orchestra, Symphonic Band. I was in some classes with him, too–but most of our interaction was band-related.
We’d had some back and forth over Facebook over the years–mainly still about music-related stuff. Because that’s what he was in my head. All about music. I noticed peripherally that he liked to play some Flash games online, but I’m pretty dense when it comes to making actual observations.
And then I discovered the guy actually liked to game. Not only that, he was a gaming fiend. And he’d been one since high school. When I knew him. But I had no idea he liked to game. And now that we play online regularly, I discover he also knows a lot about tech–works for a university, in fact. We’ve got a lot in common. But since high school, I thought all we had in common was band.
When I see friends being friends with people I didn’t even know they knew, let alone were friends with, I have the same sort of epiphany. It happens in day to day life, but it happens even more when I see or talk to old school friends. I think one main reason for this is that I moved around a lot when I was a kid. Until high school, I was never in a school district longer than three years or so. I came into areas where people had grown up their entire lives. They had History there. They’d been friends with some people in elementary school. Some people in middle school.
Not me–I was the permanent guest star.
Buffy analogy here: I was Dawn the entire time. The girl that randomly got inserted into the plot ex nihilo. (Except I wasn’t a girl, obviously.) Everyone else in school had past lives. They had a communal sort of memory that went way past me.
I’m not saying that I didn’t fit in or anything. I felt well accepted and popular enough–as popular as a guy who played the bassoon could be. 🙂 I’m just saying that it’s different when you move in to a place vs. when you grew up in that place. Different in ways that I’m still discovering today.
My kids have a fair chance of living in just one place the whole time as the grow up. There are some good things about that. They can have life long friends–people they’ve know their entire lives, other than their family. I don’t have that. Do I miss it? Hard to say, since I have no idea what it’s like.
There are some disadvantages, as well. I never had the option of growing into the wrong crowd–meaning that because I moved so often, I just kept hitting the reset button on friendships. I would always find friends with similar values and interest to my own, as opposed to having old friends find new interests for me. I’m not sure how often that happens. Again–hard to analyze a way of life so different than the one that I grew up with.
Not really sure where I’m going with this. In the end, it was a train of thought I felt like riding for a while. Does anyone have anything to add? Any of this strike a chord with any of you? What’s it like growing up in the same place? How do you view the people who move in? To an extent, I still see the same thing happening in my life today. In my part of Maine, you’re either born here, or you’re “From away”–and no amount of living here will ever make you native.