Firebirdlifecoach's Blog

Pursuing a Passionate Life

Walking Down Internet Memory Lane March 30, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — firebirdlifecoach @ 10:08 am
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One could certainly debate the pros and cons of social media and its all pervasive impact on life as we know it. There is no question that it can lead to: a seemingly bottomless pit of time wasting, a propensity toward the “over-sharing” of life’s minutia and what amounts to an internet version of unhealthy, addictive behavior.  But in my mind it also provides an opportunity for connection that simply did not exist just a few years ago.  As someone who is at just the right age to have enough technical know-how to take advantage of what the internet can provide and a clear memory of what life was like before we were all constantly “connected” I can say that social media has provided one benefit that far outweighs its detractions – finding lost friends.

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of reconnecting online with the person that I really consider “my first love”. As I was working on my business network site on LinkedIn, his name popped up as someone I might want to connect with – (though how they know that, both puzzles and creeps me out a little bit). Nonetheless, more than thirty years since I would have last seen him, and almost forty years since we were “an item” we connected for a brief but pleasant email interaction. And honestly, it was great! No, I am not still mooning for a “lost love” or wanting any more than this superficial conversation presented, but had it not been for this social media site I would have spent my life never knowing what happened to him. Sure, life would have moved along smoothly without ever knowing, but now I have what can almost be described as a sense of closure.

Several years ago, I was re-united with another old friend from my college years who I had lost track of, when our lives became full with children and families and life activities and the letter writing which had finally been reduced to holiday updates eventually stopped altogether. And for about 2 – 3 years it was great to once again know and connect with this person from whom I always received a great amount of inspiration, laughter and genuine warmth. When he suddenly died of a heart-attack last year, I mourned his passing with the many friends and family who also cherished his life, and was grateful that we had had the opportunity to re-connect again before this most final disconnection. There is no denying the intensity and deep connections that you forge in your younger years and how significantly they can impact your life even if circumstance and priorities separate you over time. Old friends know you in a way that new friends never can – and social media allows you an opportunity to acknowledge their importance.

Sure, I am lucky; my reconnections to my past have mostly been positive ones. I have not stumbled into any frightening, unhealthy stalkers. Aside from some of the minor annoyances of irritating posts on Facebook from people whose, let’s just say “approach,” is at odds with my own, social media has treated me pretty well. I have a greater appreciation for some people than I had, had years ago – and most importantly I have been able to connect with some folks who were and are very important to me. I am not a “collector”, one of those people with a hundreds or thousands of “friends” who they may simply have attended the same high school with, it’s not about the numbers really. Though I check in regularly, I don’t really care for the trivial updates about every aspect of your existence, and I could absolutely live without the constantly forwarded quotes and cute animal photos in favor of more authentic and original material.  But a little here and there is just fine.

Most significantly, over five years ago I reconnected with someone who has indeed, changed my life. An old friend, I had known since grammar school, someone I always felt “connected to” despite our lives taking us in different directions. Built on an old stone foundation of mutual respect, fundamental understanding and positive regard we have forged a new and deeper relationship then either of us could have imagined in an age before social media discovery would have allowed. Not everyone is going to find “true love” on Classmates.com, and probably it’s a good idea not to try. It’s not about re-living your glory days, or going back in time. It’s about being able to connect in the here and now, to those people who have moved and shaped who you are today. There are definitely undeniable upsides to being able to connect with the people who really meant something to you over the years, to say “hello”, to share your friendship, to let them know that you are grateful to have had them in your life, and once in a great while to be able to say “I have waited for you all my life – and I didn’t even know it”.

 

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Whither the Snow Flower March 13, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — firebirdlifecoach @ 10:31 am
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(I wrote this last week, before the snowstorm that dropped 20+ inches in our area arrived – but forgot to post it! Better late, than never…) March is a cruel month.  After several months of gray skies, cold temperatures and wintry precipitation – the changing of the calendar brings hope to those folks living in the Northern Temperate zones. “It’s March – yeah, we made it!” – The optimistic voices of the winter-weary exclaim as the meteorological spring begins. But alas, the reality of early spring weather – is not long, warm, sunny days with daffodils and tulips. And as the East coast and particularly the North East prepares for another snow/rain storm those happy smiles turn to frowns. The once beautiful snow – looks strangely out of place and is definitely unwelcome.

No one likes a spring snowstorm. Power outages are common, as heavy snow downs power lines and breaks branches. Clearing the heavy, wet snow is unwieldy and back-breaking by shovel and impossible by snow blower. It’s slushy and dirty and gray and even the kids who welcome snow days like surprise holidays, made just for them, start to realize that another snow day will mean the school year is just going to grow longer into the summer. But alas – this is the way it goes, spring storms are a regular occurrence and as far as I know there is still no means of controlling the weather.

But there are upsides… As the days get warmer, the piles of snow will indeed melt faster. The tired grass once exposed will get greener. And always – there are those wonderful surprises waiting under that snow. Every year, much to my wonder and amazement, though I have seen it over and over again all my life, when the snow finally recedes it unveils the early buds of real spring. Crocus, tulips, hyacinth somehow oblivious to the snow cover awaiting them above the soil have managed to break ground. Somehow, in their biological make-up – they always know that their time is near and they begin to grow, no matter how many inches of snow cover the frozen Earth. It’s wondrous!

Yes, I will be out there tomorrow, cursing the heavens as I once again clear what has become my longer and longer driveway with the passing of each year. But I will know we are nearing the end of this winter weather. I will know that under those piles of snow; lay the truly thrilling beginnings of spring. It’s only a matter of time. The days are already longer and this may be the last storm, well at least for this year anyway. Bring it on – each snowflake brings us closer to daffodils.