As I have mentioned before (I think), I live with three other fellows who are in the same program as me (Emerson National Hunger Fellowship) in the nation’s capitol. It’s been a great experience, mainly because I find myself being challenged so much by them and the rest of my fellowship community.
Currently, I’ve been challenged in thinking about how I keep in touch with people from my past. My roommates are constantly skyping/calling/snail-mailing people from their past. Right now, one is skyping and another is on the phone (and the last may be personal e-mailing).
What am I currently doing? drinking sweet tea, eating cornbread, and looking up future plans…with a dash of Foster the People on the side. In the past few months - and even while in Seattle, I’ve had less than ten phone conversations with friends from college, high school, summer jobs, etc. I’ve not video-chatted with a single person. I did send holiday greetings to people. but I haven’t really sat down and talked to a past friend for more than an hour —- which my roommates are going past that quite a bit as I type.
I would blame half of this of my constant need to be thinking in the future (whether it be job-related/how I’m going to make new friends/what I would rather be doing/looking up housing options for a job I don’t even have/etc) and the other half on being scared of being stuck in the past.
I don’t think being stuck in past relationships is bad - and I don’t think that just because you keep in contact with past friends means that you’re incapable of being as productive in your future as someone who doesn’t. Alright, maybe that last one a little bit. The possibility of being stuck in a past phase of my life really scares me. I never want to think that a past part of my life was my prime. I don’t want to be stuck in memories of high school, memories of Upward Bound, or memories of college. I never want to say, “remember high school? It was the best fucking time of my life. Oh, to be young again.” Heck, I even remember in high school hearing people say, “remember our middle school years, jesus christ they were great.”
I can’t handle that. I want such a full life and I’m constantly being driven on how I can balance living in the moment while planning the next moment - I forget about what happened in the past.
To add to another reason why I probably don’t keep in contact as much as I could - I really dislike the monotony of the catching up discourse. I like to keep tabs on people to know what they’re doing, but I would much rather be talking about other things than what you’ve been up to the past two years.
That’s not a bad thing, in my mind. Whenever I meet up with old friends, I try to capture what made our relationships so great while we had them. Just recently, I went back home to Kentucky and hung out with a few different groups where we spent little time on what has occupied our lives and more times doing what was great. I took pictures and had feminist conversations with Madri, I made fun of Conor ;),I let Brittany be a doctor on me, I danced, made silly noises, and took shots of bourbon with Erin, helped send snarky text messages to Patrick, and I got into trouble with Christine.
So maybe my own reflecting style is just different than others. I really enjoy being present with someone, picking up where we left off, as if we did not just spend a year or two apart. I enjoy talking about my current problems and successes than spouting off a resume of past happenings.
As a closure, I do apologize to all my friends that I don’t keep in touch with as much as I should - but just know that I do think about you, talk about you to new people I meet, and am intentional about having a great time with you when our paths cross again.
Until the next time we see each other, I’ll be lost in my future. One where I’m planning on seeing you again.