Thanks to Facebook, I’ve recently been in contact with people I haven’t seen or spoken to in over 20 years and I’ve been thinking about how weird this is. I’m even in contact with people I didn’t know very well when I was in school. In some cases, I’m in contact with people I’ve never known, but we somehow have a connection, like my fellow fibrosing mediastinitis patients. Without the internet, I would feel very alone in my challenges with my disease.

Some question: Is it healthy to reconnect to my past? Shouldn’t I just let the past be in the past? Perhaps. But another way to look at it is that in another era, before people were mobile and scattered east, west, north and south from their origins, they lived in villages. During that time, we would have grown up and grown old with the same people. The beauty—if we can call it that—of the internet is the capability to bring our villages of origin back together. Another thought is that it is somehow comforting to reconnect with the people of our childhood because it takes us back—for many— to a place and time when we had fewer worries. It was a time before children, broken hearts, deaths of loved ones, mortgages, jobs, and being a responsible adult. Again, take that as you will. And even though, at the time, we felt the weight of the world was on our shoulders, we can look back and realize that it really was a simpler time.

I like to believe, like many people, that I am a different person that I was nearly 30 years ago. We’ve all learned lessons and experienced a substantial slice of life. I’m learning a lot about myself by connecting with people from my past. And, I finally understand a lot about the people who’ve been a part of my life. Sometimes I dream about people I thought I forgot about long ago. I don’t always understand why, but somehow, they are still within me.

As far as the hate part of Facebook, it can bring up things we were hoping were long in our past. Your ex pops up as a friend recommendation, for instance. Or, you find that long lost love and they break your heart all over again. Some things never change. Sometimes, it can bring final closure after so many years. It’s fun to see people and think, “Yes, I had a crush on you, and you and you, but not you.” I’m glad to see people doing well, living happy lives, showing off their children and even grandchildren, even though I wonder how grandchildren are possible. It’s crazy for me to see my classmate with twenty five year old children when I haven’t seen the classmate since we were eighteen.

Facebook keeps me in touch with my family. My family, who can’t always understand why I’ve chosen to live so far away. Honestly, I left to avoid the pain I’ve caused and the pain I’ve felt. If I could have lived a conventional heterosexual life and be true to myself, I could have stayed. Some places are just not conducive to our lives. To live a lie, just to fit in and be accepted is no way to live one’s life. I’ve found acceptance and true love since moving to the west. I can be myself. I can live openly, without apology or explanation. My life was transformed and actually saved by a doctor here. I miss my family and friends very much, but I hope they understand my choices.

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