Making a big move across country the first time was a lot less difficult than you might think. I was young, I had soon to be Husband, and it seemed like the whole of everything was before me. I honestly didn’t know what I was going to do with myself, and it was ok. Even though I was not scared and never worried about missing my friends, I should have been. I left where most of my friends were located at a time when none of us really had the money or ability to travel and see each other. We were less technologically savvy than we could have been regarding the just blossoming social media venues, and we were, let’s say, busy, with other things, like finding jobs and spouses and making lives for ourselves. When Husband and I decided to make the move back east, the first excitement I really had was that I would be able to “go home again” and reconnect with my old friends. My college people are a core group of friends that I loved like family, and being near them again was a joy I hadn’t felt in a long time.
When we first arrived back east we had a lot to do to catch up with family. They were, after all, the number one reason we came, followed immediately by our desire to be nearer our old friends, cost of living, wanting a chance to start all over in a general reinvention of self, and a sort of desperate need for our immediate family to be whole again- Husband’s job had become a nightmare, but that’s another story. After all of that settled down, we realized we were still not working and could start making these connections again. The first thing I did was to find that there was an old friend really close. In fact, he was a frequent visitor to my very town. This was going to be the beginning of the fairytale reuniting I had imagined.
I will not go into the details surrounding my attempts to reconnect with my friend. I will spare you the embarrassment you would no doubt share with me as you see coming what I did not; in my vague Facebook connections I was imagining something that was simply not true. Let’s just say this: I was not important to this person anymore. At all. My existence was nothing more than a passing half-smile on the face of someone I thought I was close to. I think I was close to him, actually, but really long ago. At first when I realized this, I was pretty devastated. I didn’t really know how to handle it in my mind. It was upsetting and scary to me, as someone with such anxieties to begin with, because I had gone out on a limb and failed. It is almost terrifying for me to see people after a long time, because I am not a person who is happy with how I look. I’m self conscious about my weight, my face, my age, my gray hair, you name it, so meeting new people and reconnecting after lots of time and pounds is scary before it even occurs. What was I going to do?
After some soul searching I tried again with another old friend. This friend was running an event around the holidays and Husband and I decided that we should go attend and see if we could make a connection. We were both sort of nervous after not actually seeing her in over fifteen years. Sure enough, we immediately reconnected with what felt like an audible click. We didn’t stand around awkwardly rehashing old jokes or doing the “remember when” game, but talked about real things and real people and real life now. She met Daughter and we hugged and I felt like a small piece of my heart that I didn’t even know was missing popped right back into place.
What I realized at that moment is that you can, in fact, go home again. The problem is, I started out trying to reconnect with a person who, when I really thought about it, was a friend of a friend. We existed for each other through someone else and never had our own friendship unit. The reason I could go home again with my second friend was pretty simple: she had been home to begin with.