The Newsfeed

Do you use the Facebook newsfeed? It occurred to me today how it has become the way to keep in touch with many people. You may be thinking “DUH!” but it really hit me today.

A friend of mine, who is also a co-worker, stopped by my office today and we were discussing our weekends and I mentioned how I went to the beach with my dog (I discovered dogs were allowed at the beach near my house a month ago and I’ve gone almost every week since. It has been great.)

Anyway, I quickly stopped myself because I felt like I was being redundant since I had posted pictures on Facebook. She gave me a look like she didn’t know the answer to the quiz and it made me think about how Facebook has changed things.

I suppose it depends on how much one uses Facebook. My other friends will actually have discussions about out posts when we see each other. It’s a helpful conversation starter, especially for acquaintances that you may not have that much in common.

Some people, and I was like this for many years, don’t feel like publicizing their lives on Facebook. There’s something to that. We’ve seen inappropriate posts that will end up being problematic in the future. Plus, all of our experiences are being fed into a database designed to direct advertising and who knows what else at us. But I am pondering the beautiful aspects of Facebook here, so let’s not dwell on that.

Facebook allows us to reach out to others. In the past week an acquaintance posted a lengthy post about being depressed and many people posted words of encouragement and prayers for him. This is not something he would ever have told me directly. It also allows us to share information we find helpful. I have friends and family who have marital problems so sometimes I post articles I find with helpful information.

Facebook is also something of a scrapbook now. We post pictures of the places we go, the things we do, what we eat, who we’re with. It allows our friends to share things they think we’ll like and it allows us to share things we like with them.

Then there’s the psychology behind who we allow into our Facebook world. I am a very private person but I have been working on opening up. In the beginning it was awkward for me to add some family members, and then certain friends because I didn’t want everyone knowing what I was doing. We also can’t can’t control what others post about our shared activities. And then there is the question of co-workers. I only have 2 people from work as Facebook friends. They’re the ones I hang out with outside of work. Most of my co-workers are Facebook friends with each other. I love them dearly and will tell them a lot of my life, but I prefer to keep that part of my life separate.

Facebook has sort of turned into that Christmas letter that you send out once a year to update your loved ones with your happenings, only instead of once a year, it’s daily or even multiple times in a day.

What do you like about Facebook and how has it changed things for you?

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A Bittersweet Birthday

It has been a busy month. As I mentioned previously, it is birthday season and my birthday (the third of 4 birthdays in my group of friends that take place in April – May) just occurred a week ago. I had an awesome weekend. It started out with an overnight trip to West Palm Beach so my friend Mimi, and I could be there bright and early for the Hot Air Balloon Festival, which was a fundraiser for the Wounded Marines Semper Fi Fund.

It’s pretty neat to see the balloons set up and inflated. There is something moving about seeing them lay lifeless on the ground and then slowly perk up and all of a sudden become upright. It’s magical to see the whole group of balloons at various levels in the blue sky.

At night they do a balloon glow where they light up the balloons with their flames. I didn’t get to see it this year but I love taking night pictures and playing around with the shutter speed. So I look forward to doing that next year.

The birthday festivities continued that evening. I went to dinner with a group of friends. I was hoping we would roam around South Beach after but it started raining. Some went home and L and I went to T’s house, had some drinks, and watched a movie.

It turned out to be a nice night because the three of us hadn’t hung out together in a few weeks and I got to see her ten-year-old Chihuahua, Sara. I’ve only known Sara for a year but we are very close and during Easter Weekend I took care of her when T went away. We went on multiple daily walks and I took her to a new place every day and we just had a nice time being together. T said I spoiled her.

A month ago Sara was diagnosed with an enlarged heart, which caused her to have trouble breathing. The following Saturday (after my birthday) she was having a particularly hard time. T took her to the vet but they couldn’t do anything for her. She passed away.

At first we thought she might have been able to live with this condition for a few years, but I guess it was just her time. I’m sad to have lost my buddy, but it gives me peace to have these beautiful last memories with her. It turns out it was a good thing in rained the night of my birthday and I got to see Sara.

Unfortunately, our pets don’t live as long as we would like, but perhaps that is part of what makes them special. We have to cherish them for the short time we have them.

Also, I heard T’s version of that day and L’s version of Sara’s last day. I have my own version from what I experienced and what I pieced together from their accounts. I can see the beauty of friendship as we tried to be there for T and as we make sense of what our pets mean to us.

The bonds of friendship are interesting. We get scarred dealing with life. Some heal and some are always slightly visible. Our friends and family are there to tend to the wounds. These experiences tie us together. Someone looking from the outside would never know what really went into building a friendship. And sometimes even when you’re on the inside you don’t really realize it either; it just carries you like the current into better times.