When Two Lives Collide

June 16, 2010

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My old high school friend, Shannon, wrote a thoughtful post today and it has stuck with me. You should go read it. Also say hi to her – she’s awesome.

And she’s right. For all the great things social media and this digital age brings there is a side that can feel defeating. Isn’t it easy to see who’s traveling the world, holding the dream job, saving lives, making policy, making people laugh and building a second home?

There’s the girl who became beautiful long after you lost touch. The quiet boy who is now smart and handsome. The technology innovator you never knew. The stay at home mom who looks like she has it all together. The one who had a book published. The one who is working with rock bands.

It can be unnerving, our friends’ success. The second guessing of choices. The “what ifs” that creep in at the weaker moments.

There is a movement going around many blogs asking people to write a letter to their 20 year old selves. It’s an interesting exercise, isn’t it? In many cases sites like Facebook bring you virtually face to face with your life as a 20 year old. How does it look 20 years later?

I think it’s that mirror effect of Facebook that’s so hard sometimes. I don’t begrudge other people their success – and I know that for all the openness and rawness that makes the Internet so compelling and interesting we’re all still putting a measured picture of ourselves out there. It’s the daily exercise of facing old decisions – good, bad or never made – that can wear on you.

Living in the present is hard. Hell, there are times where living in the moment is damn near impossible. But trying to integrate that “life as a 20 year old” with “a life today” – well, it’s still a work in progress.

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9 Responses to “When Two Lives Collide”

  1. Knighton Says:

    I was thinking along these lines lately, but as it relates to family. It’s hard enough running into your HS/College self online, but harder still dealing with one’s families’ memories and expectations. In both instances, it’s as if your personality- or their memory of your personality – has stalled at a moment in time and should you change, you somehow rock their perception of the world.

    I’m trying to figure out how to respond to it all without hurting the people I love. I’m less concerned with what those rediscovered friends think of me. It all makes me tired – of trying to make myself clear to people who won’t see me, of defending myself or feeling defensive, of tolerating others’ changes while mine are disapproved. It’s easier to withdraw, but less productive.

    Anyway . . . I ramble, but this has really been on my mind.

    Reply

    • Pammer Says:

      Managing it all is exhausting, isn’t it? I’m not sure what’s harder – getting others to change their expectation of ourselves, or having to adjust our own expectations of others.

      Reply

  2. Jonathan Says:

    Good idea for a post. It would probably be tremendously positive – I have more now than I could ever have imagined. I’m happier than I have ever been, and have more friends than at any time in my life.

    I don’t tend to compare or look back though, which probably helps a lot :)

    Reply

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