Wednesday, March 10, 2010

"Friends" on Facebook? Priceless.

About a year and a half ago, I was bullied into joining Facebook. Like I needed another reason to sit at my computer for more hours each day. I say bullied because one of my clients (also now a close friend and of course, a "friend") nagged me every class for weeks to sign up. So I finally agreed and I have to confess, my life has never been the same. That sounds so DRAMATIC!

But it is entirely true. When they say facebook is a social network, OMG, they weren't kidding! Did I even HAVE a social life before facebook? To say that facebook provides me with joy on a daily basis is an understatement. I catch it whenever I sign on. It may only last for a precious minute or two but nevertheless, I catch it and quite honestly, it's a guaranteed highlight of my day. (I swear, I really DO have a life!)

At first it was a goofy, fun way to bust on my "friends" which consisted of like 6 girlfriends from town. The daily posts were fun and often hilarious and that moved into collecting and sending flair, uploading photos and answering silly quizzes that often opened a window into who I was or at least provided entertainment to my now 20 "friends".

As the weeks went on, more and more people were popping out of the woodwork "friending" me and pretty soon I had about 50 "friends"! It was crazy. Did I even know 50 people?

But I did my part and also "friended" people. I rarely left my comfort zone though. Mostly "friending" relatives, clients and maybe an occasional person from town that I wasn't exactly real friends with but knew them from seeing them at the elementary school. As the months passed, an indescribable bond was formed with many of the people who posted regularly. It was just really fun and it added another dimension to life.

Things really changed when I started making connections with people from high school. I connected with one guy who I went to elementary and high school with. It was so amazing to exchange emails and update each other on our lives. Not in a million years would I have thought I would EVER connect with this person again. In fact, it was surreal. To date, I have connected with about 10 high school classmates. One I never spoke to even once in high school and now connect with on a daily basis. Once again, life has taken me by surprise and I am not sure I will ever get over the wonder of the relationships I have renewed through this strange, cyberworld connection.

I now have 135 "friends". That's nothing compared to my niece who has over 700 "friends"! Yikes, what must HER wall look like each day! Besides my real life friends and my clients, I'm "friends" with cousins I have seen all of twice in 30 years, my ex-husband's ex-wife (high school acquaintance), my ex-stepdaughter (who was 6 the last time I saw her and is now almost 32), my ex-husband's girlfriend after me (actually SHE is one of my bffs in real life but that's a whole other blog post!), high school boyfriends, elementary school boyfriends, wish you had been my boyfriend, boyfriends (♥), college amours (I'm sensing a theme here!), people I worked with over 30 years ago from 2 different companies and acquaintances from all different parts of the last 30 plus years of my life. I even have a "friend" who is a friend of a friend (and a "friend" - this is confusing!) and I have never met this person, but they have something to offer and a connection was made.

But without a doubt, the most thrilling connections are the ones I made this past fall. I found an old college friend and she in turn connected me with my college roommate and 3 other college buddies. Not only did we connect through facebook but we got together! It was an amazing, uplifting reunion and I was high for days. I missed them so much and I didn't even know it! I hadn't seen any of them in 30 years and had resigned myself to the fact that they were gone forever. Such joy I captured in the fall of 2009!

The really cool thing about facebook besides all the human connections, is the exposure to so many different facets of our world. "Friends" post videos of every sort from music to lectures, post quotes that often take on meaning relevant to where you are in your life's journey and I have been known to not only post but receive a great recipe or two. You get to follow the thoughts of our young people (sometimes reallllly scary!!) and the wisdom of the "elders". Yes, you get exasperated at the Farmvilles, Mafia Wars, Zoo thingamajigs and the rest of the rigmarole of that part of facebook I could do without, but it's an information party that I never tire of because I learn something new almost everyday.

I've discovered music I never would have listened to, books I never would have read if not for "friend" recommendations and if nothing else, it is a forum where I can let off steam on a really bad day and express my greatest joy on my best day. Most definitely a place for self-expression and I have seen a side of many people that I never would have known about if not for this crazy forum. So surely, my life has never been the same and I am grateful.

So, to all my "friends", I say, you make my life more fun and I love you for it. I have no doubt that you will continue to surprise and thrill me. To those that I did not really know before finding you in this most unlikely place, getting to know you has brought me unexpected happiness. And to Chrissy, the "bully" who made me join facebook, I say thank you. The amount of joy I catch from this nutty cyberworld is priceless and I forgive you completely!

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