As I was looking around my Facebook page thinking of different ideas for my blog this week, I came upon a page I hadn’t looked at in awhile. In my twenties, I lived and worked in Japan for three years. The first year was in Mito in Ibaraki Prefecture. It was a really great year. I still recall how the “honeymoon” period went on a really long time. I can actually still picture one day when I was walking along the cherry blossom trees on my way to work and feeling like skipping and whistling as I was so delighted with my new life. I can remember the feeling. I was working an average job as an English teacher, in an OK company. I lived in a tiny apartment and couldn’t really afford much. And I lived on the other side of the world from all my family and friends. Yet, I felt so grateful. I loved everything I was seeing, I loved the students and I loved the friends I was making.
I am a member of a Facebook group of people from that year. I check in now and then and we share some laughs and photos from way back when. I still feel a connection with some of those people. I never see them and haven’t in years. We live all over the world but we share a common experience captured in time.
I have friends on my Facebook that I met in my early twenties while backpacking in Europe. This was back when you had to find an internet café which was often sketchy in order to get online and the only thing I used was email. Times when someone would scribble an email address on a scrap of paper or you’d make a random plan to meet up in another country in a month or two. I was able to reconnect with these people when I signed up for Facebook in my early thirties.
I stay in touch with people I met in the UK and Denmark when I was living there a few years ago. Again, people who share a common experience.
While I have always been pretty good at keeping in touch, I don’t think I would have been able to maintain all these connections if it weren’t for social media. And don’t get me wrong, some of those connections are just skimming the surface of liking photos or comments. But many of them are genuine connections. These are people that I will see and spend time with when I have the chance to travel to their part of the world again or they head my way.
Our lives are so busy and that is something that I am always trying to work on….how to stay present, how to prioritize, how to not get lost in the shuffle of the every day. It is hard to stay connected on the genuine level that I would like to have with everyone in my life. Facebook gets me partly there. And has allowed me to hold on to shared experiences with people all over the world. For all of its flaws, this I am truly grateful for.