Past Lives and Past Friends

March 30, 2008 at 12:49 pm | Posted in Life in the US, Self | 3 Comments

It makes me sad to think about all of the people that I’ve cared for in the past that are no longer in my life.  I’ve got an address book full of people who have meant a lot to me, but who I haven’t spoken to in years.  People from my time at Wesleyan, summer camp while in high school, my summer in Utah, and from Mexico.  All of these people I was extremely close to for at least a while, but now I wouldn’t know how to find them even if I tried. 

I wonder what it takes for a relationship to transcend a particular set of circumstances and become one that exists no matter where we find ourselves.  I think that those friendships that have petered out mainly did so because they existed at a time in our lives where we were mobile and in the process of defining ourselves. 

What has triggered these thoughts for me?  Well, I brought my life history in pictures to our apartment from my mom’s house and spent some time looking at photos taken over the course of ten years or so.  I had a bunch from my first (and only) year at Wesleyan…pictures of people with whom I shared intense times, conversations, laughs, and drinking binges.  There were dozens of pictures of one friend in particular, the guy who lived across the hall from me.  We were extremely close for that year, then when I left Wesleyan, we stayed in touch and saw each other occasionally.  Of course, communication died shortly thereafter. 

What was so strange was that the very next day, I checked my email and found that he had invited me to be his “friend” on Facebook.  What an odd coincidence…the very day after I had been reminiscing about our friendship, he has located me on Facebook.  So I shoot him a message, sharing this oddity of synchronicity with him.  His response?

Nothing.  Absolute silence.  What I take from this is that some, if not most, of my friendships from my late teens and early twenties are meant to stay in the past. 

And I also wonder what it takes to make a friendship endure.  I really believe that had I stayed in Cancun, I would have felt like I was a part of a circle of people with whom I’d continue to share experiences and love.  But here in the US, we’re all so damn busy.  This, coupled with the fact that most people from Rhode Island still have the same circle of friends and family that they grew up with, can make life fairly isolating and lonely.  And those who have relocated here may very well not stay for long. 

There’s something to be said for a small, tight social circle, but how do you make that circle expand? 

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3 Comments »

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  1. Hi from sunny Spain. Good post as it really hits home with me. Sometimes I think about what in my mind seemed such an intense relationship in my past, but when I count how long we actually knew eachother it was only a couple of years. I often wonder too if I did live near again to some of the people in my past if it would be the same – probably not I think, and maybe it´s more a time in my life I miss than a person.

    Saludos, Tiff

  2. Oh I’m so there with you. And I was sad when 2 minutes after I first met you I learned that you had plans to move back to the states. I would have loved to be in your Cancun circle.

    I think friendship has to be fluid and as such it often slips away. But sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes you make friends with someone and know that you will attend their funeral someday, or that you will know them a long time.

  3. Hi, I found your blog after looking for some that talked about the experience of marrying someone from Latin America and bringing them to the States. . .mine happens to be from Chile.

    I have thought of this phenomenon too. I know that even with the internet and skype and all there are very few people I continue to keep in contact with on any sort of regular basis. I do have 2 friends who seem to persevere, and it is a sign that we can change together. Much like romantic relationships that don’t last, life-long friendships transcend circumstance, or are so far inscribed in your life that they “move” with you.


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