19 July 2009

Obsession...or not

My current Facebook status =

Jennifer Watson is laughing. Chris sees me sitting in our living room tap-tap-tapping away on my laptop and says with a huge grin, "OK, I think it's official that this is now an obsession."

I look at him, knowing in one way that he is right, but also knowing that he's also just a little bit wrong.

"It's not an obsession," I say.

"I know," Chris replies. "I just think that it's kind of funny."

"No, really, it's not an obsession," I persist. "We've been living so long just the two of us that it feels really good to be reaching out to other people."

And it's true.

Chris and I are both very extroverted introverts.

We love to see friends and family and do social things, but both of us tend to regenerate much better with down time...alone. And sometimes we get in the habit of not necessarily reaching out to other people to make plans. So a weekend rolls around and it's just the two of us.

We kind of get in a rut of hanging out as Just The Two Of Us.

Don't get me wrong - we always have a great time together even if we have no plans. Chris is wonderful, fabulous and extremely entertaining company (and I hope that I am, in turn, wonderful, fabulous and extremely entertaining company for him...he keeps me around so I'll assume that I am.)

However, there is that danger that we sometimes let ourselves slip into a world of Just The Two Of Us and end up feeling like we don't have enough friends.

And so along comes Facebook.

I'm embarrassed to say that I have poo-poo'd FB for a very long time. Thought it was something for kids. A waste of time. Dumb. Etc.

I stand corrected.

It's been a wonderful and fascinating experience to open myself up to people via this social networking site. So far I haven't done any of the games or the causes and I'm not a "Fan" of anything or anyone. (And I doubt that I'll pursue any of that aspect of FB anytime soon. Not really all that interested...) Nor have I made it my goal to have 682 Friends. Good heavens, I can hardly manage the few that I have already. I don't think that I am quite ready to make all kinds of new virtual friends.

What I am enjoying is the contact with my "actual" friends and family near and far. And reaching out to people with whom I haven't had contact in weeks, months, a few years or even many years. It's nice to read their "walls," see what's going on in their lives and let them know what's happening in my life and thoughts. Nice to be making plans to see folks who live near and perhaps to open us up to future visits to people who live far away.

The closer I get to becoming a parent, the more I realize how vital it is to seek out and open myself up to friends. To create and shore up that support system for me, my husband, our child.

Our family.

We can't and shouldn't try to do it all alone.

Or end up doing it alone out of complacency.

It takes work to maintain relationships. Something I can't say that I've always done very well in the past. I've reached out to people and enjoyed their friendship for a time only to pull inside of myself and let the friendship languish during times when my life was difficult. There are a lot of e-mails in my "Sent Items" box with the subject line "Long lost friend says hello" and the first line of the e-mail reading "I'm so very sorry that it's been so long since I've been in touch."

I don't want to send those e-mails anymore.

And so I am on Facebook and working hard to reach out to people. To forge and re-forge relationships that I haven't shepherded well into my 41st year. To maintain those relationships. To share myself not just when it's convenient or only when I'm feeling really up. But also when things are hard and when I want to pull away and retreat into myself. To keep reaching out and know that there will be people there for me during the hard times.

And for me to reciprocate. For me to be there for friends and family during their hard times. For me to be part of their support systems and to reach out when they need it.

So maybe I'm spending just a wee bit too much time on my laptop these days, but I'm fairly certain that this is temporary and will pass. Eventually I imagine that I will have some kind of routine and will limit myself to a certain amount of time of FB...and, of course, the needs of the Little One will likely severely limit my computer time!

But for now....yeah, a little obsessed.

See you on Facebook!

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