“Letting go of people or traditions is hard because you invest so much in them but to let go can be scary. But it can also be liberating. Or even essential to your happiness.“
– The Carrie Diaries (Season 1 Episode 13)
Now a days friendships have a better fighting chance with the current age of social media. With the accessibility of apps like Skype and Google’s Hangout you can have face time with friends from all over the world. There are family portraits being taken where family members stand in front of a projection screen showing a live feed of the members who live far away. My iPhone from the states that i cannot use yet in England (would have to be jail broken and unlocked) I can send text messages with it to my mum in Arizona with Whatsapp. Whether you are on a smart phone, a laptop or at home on a computer you can talk to anyone instantly through Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. The vast huge world just got immensely smaller with the technology age by which we are surrounded. It is now more common to be close friends with people you interact with online and do not live in close proximity with nor have met in person. It benefits families today just the same. When I was growing up I might get a card from a grandparent on my birthday, but I only got to see them for a few days every three or four years when we visited the US. Now that my mum is a ‘Nonna’ she can message me on Whatsapp to ask if I can get her grandsons online for a Google Hangout. Within minutes she is visually there in our kitchen asking her grandsons about what they did in school that day. It is a much more connected world than our past.
It is through that connection that I gather and keep close the friendships I have made through out the past thirty years of my life. On Facebook I have friends from as early back as primary school. I was living in England back then during the late 80’s and early 90’s from when my father was stationed at Lakenheath AFB in Norfolk. I have friends on Facebook from each place I have lived since that time all the way up to my current friendships here in Bath, England. I would say the majority of the friendships are people I have found again through Facebook, whom I may have lost contact with after moving away. These would be former classmates from the three high schools that I attended, from my University, and from the three technical schools I attended for my vocational license. What I have found interesting is how I connect closer with some people now as a expat mum with kids to some classmates whom were more of a well known acquaintance than a close friend back then. Then there are friends that I was really close with back at school and we may now be more distant and message each other once a year. Life happens and time plays a big factor. It is what plays into the love factor of the ‘love/hate’ relationship of Facebook. I love being able to reconnect and being able to keep in touch with people from all over the world. Despite how much I loved my camera, relationships are more valuable than any material item I own. After all it is relationships that give purpose to life.
On the other side of things, I see often where people will clean out their friends on social networks and try to stick with only people they actually talk to on a regular basis. I admit I have tried to do that in the past, especially during traumatic times in my life as in the death of my father. But to be fair I cannot bring myself to get rid of a whole class of ‘friends’ from my social feeds because junior high was so long ago. If I had grown up in one or even just two places as a child than it might be a possiblity. However since a TCK experiences this cycle of loss in regard to friendships and personal identity, I cling to the many places in my life where I grew up. Where I may not hold German citizenship, I do take possession of my time living in Germany as mine and the memories of that culture that are a part of who I am today. Classmates who lived in Germany at that same period that I got to know are unique because no one else can say they have shared that experience. That is what makes a TCK so complex and the friendships they make so priceless.
What has placed this subject so close to my heart recently is looking back at friendships that I am clinging too. As someone who has moved so much and has had to say goodbye so many times, I have still fought for many friendships to keep going. There is a misconception about TCKs that we do not let ourselves get to close to people, or that we can easily just walk away. There is a certain way that nomadic people prepare and work through the process of having to say goodbye and having to make a new life in a new place. That process and going through the continual cycle of it I feel has only made a TCK’s heart bigger and more accepting of people. I can open myself up to anyone that I have just met, just as someone would to a friend they have known for awhile and have gone through those specific phases of friendship. I believe that fact tied in with the amazingly large number of people I have met or became friendships with is the root cause of being overwhelmed. I want to be a great friend to everyone and I want to relive the memories shared. It can be hard to rebuild friendships with people if you find you are giving a certain higher percentage to the equation that is not being reciprocated. How much of yourself and your time do you invest in friends and relationships that become more of a one way street?
It boils down to one main realization. By finding friends that I had lost touch with through out the years in this online world of social networking, I find parts of myself and my life I had said goodbye to once already. Why would I want to have to say goodbye again?
Q: Are you a TCK/ATCK/CCK or a person of a highly nomadic life that has experienced the cycle of saying goodbye and letting go of friends? How has social networking affected your life?
*photos belong to Bonnie Rose Photography © 2013 All Rights Reserved | www.bonnie-rose.co.uk
* For information regarding the use of photography by Bonnie Rose and photographic services contact bonnie[at]bonnie-rose[dot]co[dot]uk