A Wedding Dress, Bad Karma and Friends

8/10/11

I am packing up my wedding dress from year 1980 to send to a friend.  It has followed me to 15 homes in five different states, preserved and airtight.  In my quest to simplify, I have pondered a way to reduce, reuse, or recycle the dress.  Despite its possible bad karma.

I am sending it to her because she wore it in her wedding shortly after I wore it in mine.  She married after I did and borrowed it.  The dress attended her wedding on my behalf because by then I was in another state, pregnant, and there was no time or money to spend on a trip home.  We were friends in junior high and high school–swim team buddies who eventually lost touch.  Give or take 30 years later,  we have reconnected on Facebook.  A friend request, a few messages back and forth, and here I am sending off the dress because she says she’d like to have it.

Would I have reconnected with her and others if I wasn’t spending time on my computer?    Why bother to spend time connecting with people long-forgotten with whom I now have little in common other than having shared another time or place?  And why invest in new connections with people I’ve never actually met at all?   

At the least, I am entertained, informed, enriched, cheered, provoked, inspired and restrained by my digital time.  To those who tire of my posts and my updates:   I tire not of yours.  I like seeing your dogs, your children, your grandchildren, the meal you ate yesterday, the deer in your backyard, the walls you painted pink, the recap of your day, the travelogue of your vacation, the color used in your last pedicure, your check in at the marina in Boca Raton,  the link you found interesting, the inspiring quote you’d like to share.   I like reading about what touched you today as much as I like reading about what you remember as significant from 30 years ago.   I like reading about your travels, your troubles, your thrills.  I enjoy some of your jokes, many of your videos, most of your words, all of your ideas.   Even your drivel.   And whether you lurk or stalk, whether you like or comment or not, post prolifically or rarely:   I enjoy our conversation. 

I enjoy conversing with the friend who drove me around in her convertible in high school:  You were fun then and I can see you are still fun now.  I enjoy linking with the guy who observed my bad choices in guys in high school without saying “I told you so”:  You were right.   I am glad to know again the red-head who lived down the street growing up:  You are still beautiful both inside and out.   I am happy to know that there is still a bit of a tie between myself and a swimmer a few years older than me from a rival high school:  I respected you then and still do.   I like seeing words and pictures from the buddy of my future and now ex-husband:  If there were do-overs, I would pick you.   I  like bonding with women from my college sorority  who are now scattered about:  My memories of you are sweet and I am glad to share a small bit of your life today.   I like connecting with boys I dated very long ago and men I dated not so long ago:  I like that we can still be friends. 

I like seeing how life has carried on with people I admired in places I’ve lived and left.   To those high school acquaintances with whom I remember having little real conversation:  I wish I’d had the wherewithal in my uncouth youth to have known you better for you were and are still interesting to me.  To those who raised their children in places and times where I raised mine:  Those were good years, weren’t they?

I like little snippets from people I have worked with, people I have laughed with, people I have cried with.  I am thankful to have had the chance to begin to re-open doors that I felt were closed with ex in-laws and to begin opening doors with the new steps.    I enjoy connecting with friends of my children and with the children of my friends.  I like the dialogues I have with my new acquaintances and my fellow bloggers.  I love the humor, the wisdom, the photographs and the good stuff you share with me.   

Not terribly long ago,  pen pals wrote each other in longhand, on thin lined paper stuffed into small envelopes, stamped with collectibles on the outside and with formal language on the inside.   Long distance was precious, there was no Skype, Twitter, Hootsuite, nor any of the other variations of social media that exist and I cannot even name.   Social circles were not organized by Google.  Connections were limited by the simple fact that it was hard to keep in touch with people not seen.

Were connections deeper then?  Perhaps.  But there was not the opportunity to connect with somebody half a world away to instantaneously share a soup recipe, enjoy repartee, discuss political events, or share secrets.   We wouldn’t have been able to post our congratulations to a friend two seconds after they post an I-phone picture of their one-hour old grandchild.  We couldn’t have seen pictures of places or read about events around the globe posted by people who simply love to write, shoot pictures and share.  People who usually do so for no pay and no huge following, but rather, for the simple thrill of pushing the publish button.

Perhaps I should better organize my connections so that I can give and receive more relevant content with only the right people.  Then, those who care not to see pictures of my dog or to know that I ate dinner at Cafe Terra Cotta on Saturday night need not be bothered.  My news feed does not have to become cluttered with political views that I oppose.   I too could avoid offending or annoying and being offended or annoyed.  I can block, de-friend, and un-follow and can be blocked, de-friended and un-followed too.    Alas, my circles are fully unorganized and my content expounds without boundaries.  For that is how I like it. 

It’s not all-encompassing.  It doesn’t have to be terribly time-consuming.  Without my loose, unstructured and somewhat out-of-control connections and my love of social media, my dress might never have found a final resting place.    

I could, but I wouldn’t want, to give up my online friendships.   What about you?

44 thoughts on “A Wedding Dress, Bad Karma and Friends

  1. I am now into my sixth month of blogging and cherish the people I have met in this way. I enjoy reading about their lives, many of which are so very different to mine. I love the photographs of grandchildren, children and pets. I love that they are willing to share part of their lives with me. And for those people who follow my ramblings and comment, I am truly grateful.
    I wouldn’t have missed these few months for anything. I know that there will be new things to read each morning when I switch on the computer and I know that there will be new things to learn as well.
    So don’t make changes to your blog. Don’t become too organised. Just keep writing and I shall too.

    • I agree with you in so many ways Judith. I was surprised to read you were only in your sixth month of blogging. You seem like someone who has been perfecting the art for years!

  2. I’m glad you found a worthy cause for your wedding dress! That’s one of those things that, the more you spend on it, the less you can get rid of it easily, especially when it’s a single-use item.

    I heard about a study among children which found that they were happier when they spent time in the real world and did not have access to online social media. I think adults would be the same. I would, but of course, I’m not on Facebook or Twitter. Those are so 2008.

    • Well at least it’s only 2008. I could be even more dated. I might agree about the importance of children not having access but not sure that balanced use by an adult is a bad thing. Thanks Marvin.

  3. I think the ability to stay in such close contact with people via the internet is priceless. I’ve had so much fun swapping stories with old buddies or getting to know new blogging friends, and it’s so strange to think that none of this would be possible without one little, dinky computer!

  4. Wow, you just completely justified what many consider to be a waste of time, social media. I don’t consider it to be, by the way. I love reconnecting with old friends, people I knew when. Sometimes the only communication we have on Facebook is the click to accept the friend request. But I always feel a little connected when that happens and that’s the good part. I keep up with family that are spread around the country and rarely get together. I can “spy” on them. Look at some recent photos and say things like, “Wow, who are these old people?” Thanks for the post.

  5. I agree with you. I am cautiously dipping my toe into the Facebook world, and am truly interested in what people I haven’t seen in 30 years have been doing. And my blogging world has become just as real (sometimes more so) than my brick-and-mortar world.

    Although I’m making an effort to reign that in so it doesn’t become pathetic.

    Great post!

  6. Love it! Thanks for writing what is hard for so many to verbalize about why this is an important shift in our culture.

  7. This is a great post! There are a lot of people (myself included) who blog, facebook, twitter and g+ just because we enjoy it. I haven’t figured out the best way to do anything and often think people really don’t care what I have to say. It is thrilling every time someone responds, comments or retweets something I have to say. I love to read what other people have to say and find at least one thing (today it would be your blog) that makes it worth spending time exploring the feeds. I found this through SteveGarfield’s post on g+and I thank him.

  8. Lovely post. Sounds like you just plain enjoy people. I’m glad you like the connections you’re making because my world would be a little emptier if you weren’t in it. I always look forward to reading your thoughts.

  9. When people now ask me what the benefits are of using Social Media, this is going to be one of my new places to send them. Thank you for writing your thoughts so eloquently and sharing them with us :)

  10. Now I feel justified for the time spent here. On my blogging journey I made friends with a sweet young 16 year old from the Far East who often asked me questions she’d never dare ask her parents… and a 25 year old guy from Seattle.. I’ve made new friends in England and corresponded with a blogger from Australia. It’s a truly amazing world and I, too, feel enriched by some of my experiences.
    And,yet I miss the hand-written letters. So, this weekend I’ll find time to pen a note to my bffl from high school. We connect on FB all the time, and she’d probably be tickled to get an old-fashioned letter.
    This is a great post…wedding dress and all. Will be sharing snippets of it on my blog in the next few days. Will tweet you! Ha, ha.

    • Thanks Walker. I miss those hand-written letters too. I still have a couple of friends out in the world who don’t do email and every once in a while I pen a note. My handwriting is awful now for lack of practice. Thanks for sharing and tweeting.

  11. There’s a few people who look down their nose at us social media types,but if I may quote one of TV’s all-time erudite characters, Vinnie Barbarino, “up their nose with a rubber hose.”

  12. Thank you for your lovely, well worded and generous of spirit post! :-) It made me smile and nod yes. I too found it on Google + from Steve Garfield. The world has become a smaller and, if we make it so, friendlier place.

  13. I needed this to remind me why I love social media so very much & why I need my wedding dress to find it’s final resting place. ;) Thanks again for yet, another great post.

  14. I have decided to stop feeling guilty about the time I spent blogging and otherwise putzing around on the computer. I moved to Florida in October – 1300+ miles from friends and family. While nothing can replace the joy of being in their presence (and I’m sure their joy at being in mine!) – I am able to stay in touch, share photos instantly, nag, stalk and otherwise carry on our relationships. I have also made a great many NEW friends and re-established family connections and communications. Not seeing a down-side at this point. It has greatly enriched my life, indeed.

  15. For those of us who love to travel, getting connected with people from around the world make it fun and possible to meet them in person after writing back and forth for months or even years.

  16. Lovely post and blog generally. I cannot imagine how I would have settled into a new country and profession without the combination of my blog and Facebook. Many of those who first contacted me virtually I have met “in real life” and it has been a joy.

  17. Pingback: A worthy perspective that conflicts with my current direction in social media – which… | Scott Cramer wrote this.

  18. I’m 4 months late in reading this post, but just wanted to say that I am glad I found your blog. I think of you as a blogging buddy. If The Car Guy and I ever get to Denver on the Harley, we will turn to you for advice on the best roads to ride in your part of the Rockies!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s