Saturday, May 3, 2014

People come and go from our lives. And that's OK!

"People come and go from our lives. And that's OK."

That was a quote from one of my old professors about Facebook. He was frustrated by our modern obsession with needing to be connected to one another all the time. You see it in the way people treat their "friends lists" on such social networking sites.

Have you messaged me within the past 2 years? No? Defriended.

It's such an odd way of going about it too because so much can be misunderstood. Are you defriending me because you feel we don't talk enough? Are you defriending me because you think we're just acquaintances? Are you defriending me because you saw one of my posts and you didn't like what I said?

People come and go from our lives. And that's OK. This is what social networking (along with a clever professor) has taught me. Or, as the common phrase goes, 'less is more.' Instant messaging, texting, even e-mails are relationship-killers. Excellent tools, nonetheless, but like many tools, humanity was ill prepared for them. The ironic thing is that the more often we connect online, the less we seem to connect in reality.

One of my favorite things about college was going off into the world, leaving my home state of Minnesota, and gathering new experiences outside of what I knew. I was terrified. My best friend, Aaron, and I talked to each other almost every single day on the phone. We were both scared of losing our friends, and each other, that we overcompensated. It didn't help that we were both having really awful freshman experiences.

The next time we saw each other, it was like nothing had changed. Our friendship was stronger than ever, and we became much more comfortable not talking. It makes it that much more exciting when you finally do see each other again. You both gain so much more experience and potential that the other person doesn't, and you can share that with each other, and it's beautiful.

Aaron is currently on a tour with his choir in Europe. I miss him. But he is having an experience he will never forget for the rest of his life. I can't wait to hear all the stories he'll have to tell. As another popular phrase goes, "Distance makes the heart grow fonder."

Multiply this yearning by a trillion, and you have how I feel about hundreds of friends back in Minnesota. I haven't talked to them in ages! It's been over four years -- that's not even that long, really! And I'm filled with joy when I think of what our next meeting will be like.

Social networks seem to be a panacea for most people -- curing their subconsciously diagnosed disease of loss, nostalgia, and yearning. But these emotions are essential to being human and to fostering human relationships with one another. Get off the computer and miss your friends and family like you never did before. It's healthy, and it's OK to not talk.

Everyone has potential to give, but they first need to be allowed to grow outside of you in order for that potential to be realized by you both. We all need to write our own stories, even if, in the end, we outgrow each other, which sometimes happens. Love is sacrifice.

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