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Time Travel

Am I the only one who is utterly shocked when I find someone via Facebook that I used to know and go through their photos to discover that they’ve aged? I mean, they have AGED. In all capital letters. With only little tufts of hair to use for a comb-over.

I inadvertently found a treasure trove of old friends today. It was like stepping back into high school and for whatever reason, though I have allowed others in my life to age naturally, these people have been stuck in my brain back in their seventeen-year-old bodies. I clicked on their names expecting to see shoulder-length, scraggly brown hair and ended up seeing baldness. The overbelly of a boy who used to be sticks and bones. Names changed, wedding rings around fingers, childrens’ faces smushed against their cheek.

My brain has never had this much trouble catching up.

And all I wanted to do, as I gleefully clicked though their photos, tried to guess who was their wife, had they been anywhere interesting in the last twenty or so years, was to call my old friend and tell her who I found. Share that with her.

It’s this element of loss that you never think about when a friendship ends. That one day, you’ll find the old group you hung out with and not be able to pick up the phone and tell her.


1 Heather { 02.01.10 at 8:29 pm }

That’s so true. While I mentally understand that life goes on, I still somehow expected everyone to be right where I left off with them. Yet none of them are still eighteen. AND, my high school BFF and I are no longer friends (my choice) but I still get misty eyed and reminiscent when I find someone from our circle…

2 a { 02.01.10 at 9:04 pm }

I still have some friends from way back, and oddly, we do not ever discuss how people have aged. I met up with some people from grade school recently, and everyone got fatter. My sister, who is 8 years older than me, recently skipped out on her 30 year high school reunion. But, all the pictures were posted on Facebook, and she sent me there, so I could tell her how old everyone looked! And how she didn’t look that old…

3 Calliope { 02.01.10 at 9:21 pm }

I soooooo hear you on this! my 2nd year in theatre school I lived in this awesome house in Brooklyn with 4 other girls. Three of those girls were gay and VERY out and VERY proud. And when we all reconnected on facebook a year or so ago I was shocked to discover that not a one of those three is in a same sex relationship. And I SO wanted to call a friend of mine from that era of my life and dish I realized that I didn’t even know her number. It’s a hard core kind of sad and missing.

4 loribeth { 02.01.10 at 10:06 pm }

Mel, the old boyfriend I e-mailed you about last week? I was dying to call up my first-year university roommate about it. She knew him & would have gotten the joke.

But I haven’t heard from her in nearly two years. I’ve left voice mail messages on her birthday, I’ve sent Christmas cards. I’m not sure why I haven’t heard from her. I don’t know if she’s just been busy, or preoccupied, or ill, or whether I inadvertently did or said something to offend her. It’s been weighing on me for awhile now. It makes me sad. 🙁

5 Quiet Dreams { 02.01.10 at 10:27 pm }

I have a number of people with whom I am no longer in contact (a couple of important ones from when I converted to Judaism and their version of Christianity couldn’t handle it). Not to mention the ex-husband, who is the main person who knows most of my stuff from the last five or six years.
It’s sad.

6 Paisley Blooms { 02.01.10 at 11:52 pm }

I completely agree! It leaves my head spinning to realize people I’d just seen ten short years ago suddenly have full blown families or are doing things I’d never imagined them doing (for example, a friend I drank with in HS an awful lot is now a pastor). Still totally blows my mind.

7 Battynurse { 02.02.10 at 12:49 am }

That is a hard one, not being able to tell your friend (or other significant person) about stuff like that. I’ve noticed that with things I catch myself wanting to share with my mom (like when I realized I had a cousin in my psych class).
And you are so right on how much everyone has aged!!!! It’s freaky.

8 Baby On Mind { 02.02.10 at 1:28 am }

Totally! My biggest shock is usually how much weight people have put on, and sick to find some that look exactly the same, weight and all. Then there are some that you can’t recognize for the life of you until someone else points it out. The other biggie is how some gals have had 6 kids, or teenagers, and here sad old me is still trying to have my first baby. Sigh…..

9 S.I.F. { 02.02.10 at 2:37 am }

I recently found out that I guy I went to high school with has turned into a hard core Christian. I was SHOCKED (not that I’m against anyone becoming Christian, because that’s cool and all, but this guy?!?!) This guy was the most vulgar guy I have ever met, and since I developed boobies before most of the other girls he used to torment me! My boobs were a constant topic of conversation. I was giving a presentation once, and he started blurting out that it must be cold in the room (turns out I was poking out a little bit… fabulous!) I was humiliated. This guy also whored himself around A LOT.

I was just so floored to think of him of all people living a good Christian life. Talk about changing. I don’t know what I would do if I ran into him today! 🙂

10 Kir { 02.02.10 at 8:35 am }

wow, did this post hit me somewhere inside. Esp as I plan this month of Celebration of being 40. I can’t believe that some of the women that were in my life and shared so much of it are gone and some without reasons. I feel lost without many of them, like my childhood memories are gone too.

on another note, I was with one of my best friends as we celebrated our birthdays this past weekend (we ‘ve been friends since we’re 3) and we started to talk about facebook and old boyfriends etc…and during our talk, I realized that I have 10 old boyfriends that have since “come out” . Talk about a revelation.
thanks for this post, it “spoke” to me.

11 Danielle { 02.02.10 at 10:07 am }

I’ve had a few recent experiences like this on Facebook myself….it’s mind blowing! An ex-boyfriend who I had held so high on a pedestal in High School looks like he’s about 50 now (in reality, he’s only 35). I literally had tears in my eyes when I saw his picture….I suddenly realized that life really does go on. I had compartmentalized so many people from my past in my mind and they were neatly tucked away at 17 years old. Imagine my surprise when I saw that’s not the case! It’s funny yet eye-opening because it reminds us all that youth and beauty are so fleeting.

12 Shelli { 02.02.10 at 10:50 am }

so true! I just had a moment this morning where I ran into two old high school friends at a parent function @ my son’s school. Someone stopped to introduce us, and I realized I knew them (and they me). We laughed and then started doing the math, and quickly realized it’s been well over 20 years. I have to admit, I look pretty similar after all these years (aging hasn’t caught up with me yet), and all I could think about was how “old” they looked. It was sad and wistful all at once.

13 HereWeGoAJen { 02.02.10 at 10:56 am }

I still have those feelings about a friend that I broke up with because she was bad for me. I ended the friendship (and needed to) but I still miss when we were friends.

14 Kristi { 02.02.10 at 12:28 pm }

A few times now I’ve had to pull out the senior year book to place the person trying to friend me. Some are doing exactly what I thought they would but most have changed both in looks and personality.

15 Kitty { 02.02.10 at 1:10 pm }

Funny you should write about this because I recently saw my very first big crush from 2nd grade on FB for the first time in, oh about 20 years, and boy is he NOT attractive now! He was the school cutie back in the day, though. I’m sorry that you weren’t able to share your moment with your old friend.

16 Kimbosue { 02.02.10 at 3:37 pm }

Yep. My best gal pal from junior high – college is my FB only friend. Oh how I would love to pick up the phone and gossip about other HS FB people. Times have changed I suppose…

17 Holly { 02.02.10 at 5:44 pm }

Yes, I’ve been quite surprised at the changes at some of the people I knew in HS.

18 Jamie { 02.03.10 at 1:44 pm }

Is is a tough spot to be in. Tough because you obviously still care for her very much.

I have found so many friends on FB that I haven’t thought about in decades. It is amazing to see the guys you never thought would settle down being happily crawled on by three or four kids. The friends you knew who at some point after high school, started dating and got married. But the thing that really stopped me in my tracks? My best friend from junior high is a realtor. It just seems like such a grown up job! I can’t imagine that little girl selling houses for a living.

19 Flying Monkeys { 02.03.10 at 4:18 pm }

Oh, I’m sure that’s the reaction people from high school have about me, finding me balding and huge. I seem to be surprised by the ones who don’t seemed to have aged at all.
As for having someone to call, I never really had close friends in school. I do have a few from college and one or two now. I always seem to pick fair weather people. I wonder if I do that on purpose.

20 Aunt Misfit { 02.03.10 at 11:56 pm }

I also love the people who show up and haven’t changed at all. The boy I spent the better part of my early twenties (who knew those were the prime years) posted an update “damn you Chase for overdraft fees.” He was always bad with money despite having good jobs. Talk about saying thanks for missing that train wreck.

21 Jen@ after the alter { 02.05.10 at 12:00 pm }

Its funny when you see someone from high school and still think that they are 17…you forget that it’s been years since then and they are probably a totally different person! I know I certainly am!

22 Bea { 02.06.10 at 8:27 pm }

Yeah, and more than that, there’s this connection to whole moments in time you can’t re-run.


(c) 2006 Melissa S. Ford
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