Monday, February 22, 2010

Gone to seed.

I'm 36. I left school at 18. That means that I haven't seen many of my school friends in more years than I care to count. When we left school we thought we were adults. We thought we knew everything. The world was our oyster. I started training to be a nurse in a very strict hospital. I had to live in the hospital grounds despite my parents living only a short drive away. Nursing was an all consuming profession. You signed in and out of your accommodation. You got called to the Matrons office if you arrived home later than 11pm. There were no mobiles, no emails, no Facebook. It was easy to live in the same city as all those other fresh faced friends and lose touch.

Now 18 years later we have social networking we can access from our phones. I can be buying washing powder in Woolworths and my phone will beep to tell me that it is Tania's birthday, or that Pam has opened a bottle of red wine, or that Eileen has changed her relationship status to engaged. Living as far from Ireland as is geographically possible it is amazing to be able to reconnect and rekindle these friendships. It makes you wonder what life path these friends have been travelling. Have they had kids? What are they working as? What do they look like? Has time been kind to them or do they look different, older, wiser? Maybe they have flourished, found themselves, found their confidence and you can see it shine through in their photos. Maybe they were the fabulously confident one, popular and beautiful. Maybe they look more normal now. Maybe you see them without their pedestal for who they really are. Another person. Just like me. And in return, what do they think of me? Does my profile picture represent who I am now? Is it airbrushed to send out a better impression? Is it an honest representation of who I am and where I am now?

Today I am on a train. I have left my kids at school and I am heading to Sydney to meet a school friend that recently reconnected through Facebook. It's Eileen who became engaged and has since married and is honeymooning in Australia. I'm hoping to meet her in Darling Harbour in Sydney to meet her and her new husband and to see who she has grown into. From her photos she looks just the same. Same fresh face, same smile, same Eileen. I wonder what she will think of me? I feel older. There are lines on my face now, grey in my hair that I valiantly try to cover with auburn. Three kids later and my belly is rounded and nothing is quite as firm as it was when I was a teenager. I joke that I have gone to seed. Is that such a bad thing?

I looked at a pot plant outside my kitchen door this weekend. It was a chive plant and over the summer I have chopped the fresh stalks and thrown them in salads. Now two long stalks have sprouted with flower heads that are turning to seed. Not unlike myself. Except they are still lovely to look at. Everything has a season. Me included. Maybe its not so bad to be gone to seed...

6 comments - click here to leave your comment:

  1. Honestly, people bag Facebook but i have got in touch with heaps of friends from school who i havent seen it years. i think its wonderful for things like that.
    I have met you in person Gina, you havent gone to seed lol (not that it would be a bad thing anyway...).

  2. "Gone to seed", I love it. I feel the same way about facebook. It has been so fun to see everyone and do a little "cyber" catch up. I too often wonder if I accurately represent myself or if others are accurately representing themselves. I definitely have not taken any photos of my mom belly to post on facebook :)

  3. Wonderful post....I like it. I have reconnected with my neighbor and best friend while in high school on Facebook. I don't go on there all that often though...too many irons in different fires right now. I hope to check it out more very soon.

  4. What a great post and a wonderful way to see transitions in our lives. " Going to seed " is such a funny expression ... generally used to define something less than when it's a necessary part of growth and development.

    I hope you'll share your thoughts later about your reunion.

  5. I love this expression but I am sure you have not gone to seed...!

    I am on facebook, and some people from school have tried to contact me, but I am not going down that route. I see one friend from school not often, but we chat, every now and again. We have been friends since we started senior school at the age of 11, that is a long long time ago :-)

  6. What a wonderful, thought-provoking post! That phase "gone to seed" has always had a negative connotation to me...but in a few beautiful paragraphs you have completely turned that on it's head. Thank you...

    I do love Facebook -- I've been able to reconnect with several friends from high school, as well as continue to keep in touch with people in my life.