Thursday, February 22, 2018

285. Old friendships, divergent philosophies

Perhaps like many, my first venture into social media was Myspace.

After setting up my page, I didn’t do much with it and it sort of slowly disappeared from my attention. I really didn’t get it. So I wasn’t really interested in joining Facebook, in part because I was in law school at the onset of its popularity and because I thought it was just like Myspace.

Then one day my wife was on Facebook when I looked at her screen and noticed a close friend of mine from high school who I had been casually searching for. He was one of the few high school friends I kept in contact for a while after starting college, even writing letters back and forth. Somewhere along the way we lost touch, but I was excited now to find him.

I quickly joined Facebook and contacted him. I caught up with not only him but also other friends from high school and college. I couldn’t believe how quickly I was reacquainted with old friends. Some I remembered well; others I hardly knew. I enjoyed the perpetual class reunion, learning about the lives of classmates, such as their families, jobs, and where they were living.

I didn’t talk much about politics in high school. I didn’t run for class president, nor did I join the debate team. We might comment on a current event but we had no political philosophies and were largely oblivious to the ways of the world. I liked Ronald Reagan, everyone seemed to, though I really didn’t know why. I do remember trickle down economics and I thought it made sense at the time.

I was more interested in sports, my studies (math in particular), and of course girls. Our memories were filled with baseball games, swimming, movies, rooting for Cleveland sport teams and many late nights trying to figure out the opposite sex. I guess I just assumed that being such good friends growing up, and sharing those “teenage moments,” that we would grow up with similar belief and values. They were like family, after all.

But times change and people change and it turns out that many of my friends don’t share similar viewpoints. To be fair, I probably changed more than they did. Not many people from rural American grow up to be an agnostic liberal vegetarian with political views leaning democratic socialist.

When you’re a convicted idealist, and its tied to personal morality, it’s hard to grow a former relationship with someone perhaps as oppositely passionate. Too many issues like guns, animal compassion, Trump, and religion are deal-breakers to resume a close, in-depth friendship (as opposed to a friendship).

The memories of yesteryear are sometimes more valuable than the realities of today. It’s better that those memories stay there in that time of my life. We shared a meaningful time in our lives and had so many great memories — but that was then and this is now. We’re different people and there is not going to be any “The Hangover” type reunions. And it’s OK — some relationships grow into old age while others fizzle out. It doesn’t change the past and I wouldn’t want to. It’s emotional and a little sad, but we just see the world differently now.

On the flip side, I suppose, there are high school classmates that I really didn’t associate with much growing up but with whom now share a lot of common values. I often think it would be fun to get together and talk about our paths and how we arrived at a common worldview.

Perhaps form new relationships, thanks to Facebook.

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