I miss sharing the events of my life with friends. I’ve done very little in the way of cultivating a large circle of friends in the last few years. When I left my ex-husband, I disconnected from everything, including the largest source of my socialization; the internet. The greater majority of my social sphere during that time had come with me from my early teen years. It was a group of misfits and social outcasts that found community, and a sense of belonging in online chats. We fondly referred to ourselves as “internet elemental’s”, the first generation to grow up with the internet inside their homes. This new, unexplored digital frontier provided a freedom we did not know outside our homes, and a community that would accept us without hesitation.
“The internet is dark and full of terrors!” shrieked every parent of the turning millennium, “You don’t know them, they aren’t real people!”; and yet to us, they were just as real as the neighbors next door. Usernames became the genuine identity of the average chatroom user, and age was something of a grey area. We could be whoever, and whatever we wanted to be, and no one to question it; the ultimate freedom, and the only autonomy I personally knew at that time. I think a lot of internet elemetnal’s would say the same.
Everything I had, all personal possessions were lost at the end of my marriage. I had been stripped of material things, but more costly, my pride. I felt as if I were free-falling for months. I had no backup, no safety net, and no master plan; just a blank slate and no direction. Of course I had my community online, but even that seemed to be in the past, and shrinking into the backdrop. Despite the loss I felt from the group, I was more free than ever and looking unto the horizon; I was on my own journey, a spirit quest if you will, to discover my own identity, which was something I didn’t know I had been lacking until then.
[I cannot stress the importance of knowing yourself. I could argue it’s the first step in self care. Having a profound interest in what drives you, what interests you, and what you want to stand for is essential for a peaceful mind, and healthy relationships.]
In this pursuit of self discovery I learned how different I was from my online friends, which inevitably made me question if I had always been different; had I been pretending all this time to be something I wasn’t? This kind of thinking will lead to strange places, some of which is good, but mostly it was just purgatory, and I was Virgil. I still don’t know if people change, or if we just evolve into our better/best selves; that argument is left to bigger heads and wiser minds than mine, but I dare say your self approval rating is paramount.
During this period of metanoia, I reconnected with a friend which led to a new introduction. I never imagined the older friendship would burn, and through that destruction came a strong and soul-resonating friendship with someone else! While this unique fish still swims within my social waters, we are separated by land and imaginary lines. I miss companionship outside my wonderful life companion, whom in my personal opinion is the real cat’s meow. I miss having coffee & conversation with a friend, and the occasional day of shopping. Friendship has been a significant cost to a more traveled lifestyle. I’m not sure that I’d give it up just to have a more frequent social circle though.
tl;dr- I miss having friends 😦