Thursday, September 11, 2008

Face(book)ing Reality

By now everyone knows how awesome Facebook is. I look at it a few times a day, and the greatest thrill is the mini-high school reunion I have online every day. I know what all my old classmates are doing, I’ve seen pictures of their kids and their vacations, I know where they live and who they married, I even know who they are voting for this fall. I feel like I know them at least as well as I did in high school, some folks even better! When I ran into one of these old friends at the Farmer’s Market recently, it was like no time had passed between us- even though I hadn’t actually laid eyes on her in about seven years.

The thing I’ve hated about the Facebook era, however, is having to see myself through the eyes of former classmates. At a real reunion, you have a chance to lose some weight, buy a new outfit, and perfect the story of how you invented Post-Its before facing the folks who knew you way back when. By the time people realize that you’re actually renting the apartment over your parents’ garage and working at Starbucks, you’re long gone. Then you’ve bought yourself another ten years before you have to face them again, either with a better reality or a more believable story.

But online, I am asked daily, “How are things with you?” You want to know how I am, on a regular, day-to-day basis? I’m boring! Generally I respond with, “I’m fine, still in Memphis, working at Rhodes, married, two kids, nothing too exciting.” I know- that’s a horrible response! But what am I supposed to say? How do I sum up the day-to-day “excitement” of my life on someone’s Facebook wall?

Sometimes I want to go the non-cynical cheerleader route, and say, “Everything is GREAT! I live in Memphis with my gorgeous, successful husband, who went to White Station (whatever!) and is now an attorney at a law firm downtown. My older child, a gifted, athletic boy named Connor, just started kindergarten, where he is busy teaching the other kids how to read. My preternaturally gorgeous daughter makes my days bright with her sunny outlook and hilarious verbosity. I have a job at my alma mater, Rhodes, where I spend my time preparing reports for the college President. I hope things are going well with you too!”

But sometimes I’m thinking, “Things are swell- my son just started kindergarten, and a month later we are still exhausted from the transition. He pretty much loses his mind each night about 7:15, but we get him in bed soon after so it’s not too bad. My two-year-old daughter is awesome, but I barely get to spend time with her because I’ve made poor financial decisions my whole life so I’m stuck working full-time rather than enjoying her while she’s still my baby. Oh yeah, that job is at Rhodes. I spy on people all day. My husband is a lawyer at a firm downtown, meaning he has to spend even more time in the car each day than I do. Did I mention we still live out in the Ridgeway area? You live in Collierville/Franklin/San Diego/Switzerland now, but I still live a mile from your parents’ old house. No seriously- I run past it when I do my 5K route! Isn’t that crazy?”

Amazingly, both of those realities are true. Every day, I simultaneously feel the highs and lows of life’s journey. It’s an exhilarating ride and until lately, I thought I had a handle on it. I’ve only recently realized that the real challenge in life isn’t living it, but summing it up accurately and succinctly in order to post it on someone’s Facebook wall.

4 comments:

Hillary said...

ha, i love this post. for what it's worth, everyone feels that way about their lives i think...

The Saucier said...

poke

CarrieJ said...

just link this blog into your notes and call it a day!!!

RJA said...

When they ask how you are just tell them to read your blog. Nothing makes you look cooler than that answer.