Friday, December 13, 2013

#45 - 46 Random Posts to Celebrate 46 Years of Living

I admit it freely - I spend too much time on Facebook. I have a love/hate relationship with it. I wonder sometimes just who SHOULD be on my personal friends, because I share a lot of my life there. I love that it allows me the opportunity to stay in touch with friends and family I never would otherwise. But I also despise how it can monopolize my physical and mental time if I allow it. I think it is important to make the people who are physically right here with me a greater priority than any text, post or "like." I hope that I am teaching my children that priority as well.....but I admit that sometimes it is a great temptation to lose myself in my phone and scroll endless wonderfully inspirational quotes or funny or thoughtful posts. Pics of family and friends and baby animals are always good for sucking away time that could be otherwise spent.

I did not grow up in this digital age - it hit me later on in life. I have done the typical roller coaster of friending several folks and then later going through and "cleaning" up my friends list. Finding a good balance on who I am comfortable sharing bits of my life with is a constant effort. But - for better or for worse Facebook is a part of my life that I do not foresee giving up anytime soon. If that is the case...then who do I share it with? Currently I have 498 "friends" on Facebook. I know some folks have thousands...pushing the 5000 friend limit that Facebook allows. Honestly - how can anyone have any kind of real relationship with 498 people...much less 5000? Maybe the term "friend" is used rather loosely in Facebook-ese. In real life I can count on one hand the number of folks I would consider "best friends" and true friends might take digits on both hands and feet. After that they would probably fall into the category of Acquaintances. Most of the people I am friends with on Facebook I have little to no interaction with in the "real" world. I don't discount these relationships, though. I do share quite a bit of my life there and I value the opportunity to interact with them. In my mind, though, a Facebook friend is not the same and never will be the same as the friend whom I can call in person and say "What's for dinner? I am coming over now." 

Many of my Facebook friends fall into certain categories. I have several "church" friends. These are folks that I either go to church with, have gone to church with, or was in a Bible study with. Another group is family both far and near. I particularly love Facebook for staying in touch with this group. A smaller group is friends that aren't real people but rather are business or organizations. (Facebook would technically say that these folks should create a Facebook "page" rather than use a "personal" page - potAYto - potAHto). 

One group I struggle is with is "friends" I went to high school with. I avoided friending these folks for years. I was very shy in high school and didn't not interact with most of them.  After 25 years they were basically strangers to me. After my divorce I threw caution to the wind and sent friend requests to any and everyone I could find who went to Riverton High School and graduated on or around 1986. I was astonished at how many of them actually accepted those requests. What were they thinking? They didn't really know me. We only had one small connection....but that was all that was necessary. Now some of these folks count among my favorite FB friends. Others have maintained the status quo in that even though we are friends on FB we never actually seem to "cross paths" so to speak. 

Occasionally I still do weed through my list of FB friends. It gets harder and harder to unfriend folks, but it does happen occasionally. I am blessed that with very, very few exceptions I experience little to no drama on Facebook. If I can remember a connection with someone then it is likely I will keep them in my circle. If not then I let them go. I figure if we are really meant to be FB friends it will happen again and in the meantime I can focus on those that are left. 

I have had a crazy idea floating through my head for several months now. I value connection and actually making the effort to reach out to others. The crazy idea was to send a personal FB message to each of my the folks on my Friends list. Not sure what I would say yet....but it is something I feel like I would like to do. Maybe that is a project for AFTER I make it through my 46 Random Posts.

I may always struggle with how much to share on Facebook and who to share it with...but I am grateful for those who ARE in my little circle of influence and who acknowledge and encourage and often challenge me to be a better person. To all 498 of you I say a heartfelt "Thank You - see on Facebook!"

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