I’ve begun this post about fourteen times. When I was first inspired by a friend to remember ‘self care’ I assumed it would be easy – a little less computer time, a little more contemplation – how hard is that?
Well, it turns out ‘self care’ had a few surprises waiting for me.
It began innocently enough: with a day spent on Facebook. Don’t judge – just read. Anyone with a FB account will, at some point, try to track down everyone they’ve ever known – ever. That’s how I spent July 4th this year.
I spent my childhood in Pennsylvania and graduated from high school in 1976. One quick FB search and I had found and ‘friended’ my best buddy from those years. Betty* was one class ahead of me and when I was a senior in high school she went off to college. I always remember wishing I was as cool and as smart and as funny as she was. But like most high school best friends, we had grown apart by the time it was my turn to head to college.
Facebook, in its infinite (and sometimes scary) wisdom, allows you to see everyone else’s friends. I looked through Betty’s list to see if there was anyone I knew. Of course there was.
In high school, Veronica* and I had one thing in common: music. We both played guitar and sang and were usually the “go to” girls for musical interludes at school assemblies.
(We need to pause here for a moment simply to remind ourselves that I knew these people thirty-five years ago. Thirty-five years ago. In Pennsylvania. Betty is still on the East Coast, Veronica now lives in Europe and I am firmly ensconced on the West Coast.)
I ‘friend’ Veronica and take a look at her Facebook friends – again, just to see if there’s anyone I know.
There is. And when I find her I catch my breath and feel the hair on the back of my neck rise.
Veronica is friends with Archie*. Veronica, the funny, hyper, musical genius I knew three and a half decades ago is friends with the Archie I met in a yoga class in 2005.
And on July 4th, 2010 in Palo Alto, California I am sitting at Archie’s kitchen table with Jughead* the Labradoodle at my feet and looking at Archie’s photograph on my laptop in Veronica’s list of friends.
At that moment the world shrank to the size of a head of a pin. Six degrees of separation narrowed to three. The two halves of my life collided in the most remarkable way and ‘self care’ took on a new and profound meaning.
*Clearly, I have changed the names of those involved. Even the Labradoodle. Then again, I changed my name twenty years ago, almost to the day. But more on that later.