Forever Fifteen

Welcome_3 So, I’m in the schoolyard and my friend comes running up to me because her friend texted her and told her that her guy’s ex-girlfriend was checking out her pictures on Facebook.  OMG.  Now she had to go and change her privacy settings, but not before she checked out the ex-girlfriends’ pictures which were all bikini pictures.  Like, all of them.  Who does that?

“What are you talking about?” I asked her, looking at her like she was speaking another language.  “You gotta get on Facebook,” she says to me.  “EVERYBODY is on Facebook.”  Now I find this hard to believe, because despite the fact that this seems like a scene out of Gossip Girl, we are in fact 36 years old, my friend is pregnant with her third child, and the schoolyard we’re in – well, its kindergarten pick up at my daughters’ public school.  How can this be true?  Can Facebook now be populated by thirty-something moms and dads trying to sneak peeks at their old high school flames?

Turns out that’s exactly who’s on Facebook.  And now I’m one of them.  When I first logged on it was with trepidation and a feeling of venturing outside of my comfort zone.  Despite being a blogger, I am not the kind of person who posts her pictures on flikr.  I shudder at the very thought of filling out my favorite books, music and movies for all the world to see.  But, then I found the friend finder function on Facebook, and find them I did.  There they were, two of my best friends in high school who I hadn’t seen in 15 years.  There was my best guy friend who I haven’t seen in 7 years. And there were the extended friends, the ones who were always at the same parties, the boys I may have hooked up with at some point in high school and who didn’t break my heart, and then maybe one or two who did.

Like a yenta matchmaker Facebook puts it all out there, gives you the intro, even goes so far as to suggest people you may know and want to friend.  Facebook gives you an in, a sense of bravery you’d never have if you Googled someone and randomly emailed them in come creepy stalkerish way.  Here I am friending people I sort of remember in a nice way, ignoring the people I wish I didn’t remember (and hello – do they not remember why we weren’t friends in real life?), and relishing finding my old friends whose pictures fill me with nostalgia and flat out love every time I see them.

So suddenly through the matchmaking wizardry of facebook I’m fifteen years old again, sort of.  I look forward to the messages from my friend in California, the one who could bring out my mean girl side like none other, and sort of believe her when she tells me she’s mellowed out.  I am having lunch tomorrow with a friend who from third grade until about sophomore year of college I always referred to as “my best friend” C______.  How we grew apart I don’t remember, but seeing her appear on Facebook made my heart flutter.  And, even though its not entirely real, isn’t it important to have those people in your life? The ones who saw you at your angst-ridden worst, your craziest best, through all kinds of bad hair and outfits, through some of your most vulnerable and your most empowered moments.  All the things that made growing up hard and wonderful at the same time, these people, even as thumbnails, collectively keep that part of you alive.

And so I’ve embraced Facebook whole heartedly.  I love the cheesy group of thirty somethings who all grew up in my Brooklyn neighborhood and are now posting group pictures to the site for all of us to cringe and laugh at.  I love the ease with which I can reconnect with a friend who I’ve wondered about but don’t feel the need to actually befriend again, and I love feeling fifteen – if only for a few minutes a day while checking in to Facebook.  Because really who’d want to go back to high school for real when visiting is so much more fun?

Original New York City Moms Blog Post