Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Fridays Facebook Foibles


     I completed high school in three years and went on to college, and this is not generally something I would recommend for most people. It's also something I did not recommend to my own kids. . For many reasons, it suited my personality, as I am not really given to looking back. In the past, my tendency has been to look forward and to move forward, and when young, perhaps I even did this to the detriment of the present.  I have kept three close friends from high school, and about five from college, and otherwise have never really looked back. After high school, I went on to college, and then afterward, took a job in the Northeast, and midway through my twenties, moved to Virginia and again, never looked back.  I have only been back to the Northeastern US once since that time when I happened to be there with one of my older children.  I don't carve time from the present day for high school reunions, or even for post college get-togethers.  Despite this, I remember all the names of all my grade school teachers, and most of the names of kids with whom I went to elementary school, middle school, high school, and even a few from college.  I like the internet, but I am not a fan of social media. I enjoy Daniel's blog, but  I don't like breaching my own security by providing more data than I want to, or by allowing my friends to do so. My days are pretty full now, and I can't spare the time to Twitter. I therefore don't have a My Space account, a Twitter account or a Facebook account, and I likely never will.    Last weekend, one of my kids in trying to get me to grasp the true social significance of this new horizon called social media, allowed me to "look around" using his account.    I looked up a couple of the names of people I knew in high school, and with whom I haven't spoken since then.  Their facebook friends provided new names, and so on and so on.  Within about an hour, I knew everything I cared to about almost everyone with whom I had attended high school.  This was made easier by many of my classmates having retained their original surnames and having added a married name to it.  Oddly, they were also friends with a number of our instructors from those days on facebook also.  Certainly, a facebook cross section of my high school life is not a scientific examination of sociological trends, but since Daniel will never retrace his friends from childhood as an adult, I decided to explore a little.
          There were some interesting trends which seemed to emerge on Facebook.  First of all, kids who were very popular in high school seem now to have happily befriended those who clearly were not.  Secondly, many of the people from my high school class have never married, and never had children.  Interestingly, this was a good high school in a relatively wealthy area in a suburban area of a Northeastern state.  The students who attended should do well in the world. There were an abundance of opportunities in that era, even adjusting for a recession which occurred in 1981.   There were numerous car accident deaths within a couple of years of graduation, and this was known to me, when they happened.  Interestingly, from our graduating class of 200, the class yielded two physicians, two attorneys, about five engineers, five teachers, four builders, several restauranteurs, two successful opera singers, etc.  My closest friends became college professors and so far as I know, I am the only one who became a registered nurse at any time. (I mixed the professions of being an RN and then later being a college instructor)  There are a couple of chemists. There is one CEO from a large company. There is one public relations worker. There are a couple of people who work for the federal government.  There are a couple of professional writers and an abundance of those who work in customer service. There is an abundance of personal trainers and yoga instructors. There were no people in our graduating class who went into the military. (Although there were some in the class ahead of us, and the class behind us.)  The determining factor as to who became most successful seemed to come down to one thing.   Those who remained in our expensive Northeastern state where we went to school, seemed not only NOT to do as well as those who went to other states to pursue college or another job, but those who left were more likely to be married and to have had children.  Of course, this is a non-scientific anecdotal look at how one class from 1978 did when they got to the world, but it is interesting nonetheless.
              The other thing that I found a little discouraging was how they looked.  I am obviously not 16 or 17 year old  in pictures now, but I do look like a more mature version of the person I was in high school or in college.  People would recognize me.   Just a few of the women from school were recognizable. Most of them looked much, much older than I expected them to.  I felt very sad when I realized that I don't look as old as they do.  I wondered why.  Life has not always been easy for me, and I suppose there have been challenges for my former classmates as well.  They are clearly the people I knew, and I could verify this as they have the same siblings names that I recall, but many of them look like ELDERLY grandparents.
            I decided, after reading all about everyone, not to contact anyone.  The friends who were close to me then, still are, and I have never lost touch with them.  It was a little surreal to catch up with almost everyone I could consider, and have all my questions answered after all those years, in just an hour or two.


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