Girlhood. Momhood. Lifehood.
Insights on navigating the craziness of life with young kids one — “large coffee with skim please” — day at a time.

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Face It

January 28th, 2009

So after months of urging from friends, I finally dove into the deep end of the online social networking pool known as…Facebook.

Ooooooh my.

For the first few hours (ok, days, but I was warned that would happen), I sat hunched over my keyboard, immersed in the faces and names and lives of people I hadn’t thought about in years, even decades.

A former boss.
A college roommate.
Friends from high school.
My best friend from middle school.
A neighbor from when I was 7.

Crazy, crazy, stuff.

Then, one night, in a moment of “Who-can-I-look-up-now!?” frenzy, I came across “Andy,” my date for the junior prom. He was a senior and ran with the “A” crowd. I was a year younger and solidly in the “B” crowd. But we had study hall together. We flirted. He was beautiful and a total goof. I was smitten. And when his first choice for the prom, “Ashley-with–the-mega-watt-smile” didn’t work out, I was right there, perfectly poised on the backburner.

So when I saw his face pop up on my computer screen recently, a face 20 years older now, I was well, taken aback. He was just as dreamy as I’d remembered. In the photo, he was seated in the middle of a beautiful museum where I suspect he now works. He was looking off to the side, his hair longer, pulled back in a low ponytail, accenting his cheekbones and tanned skin. Quite an evolution from his 80’s side-part and aqua cummerbund. I scanned his list of “friends” which consisted of people that I can only assume are similar to what he’s like now…exotic, worldly, attractive, artsy people. People like “Esmeralda” who live in Costa Rica and like to sky dive.


I am a happily married mother of two. I live in a nice family neighborhood in a house with a brand-new energy-efficient boiler. I am surrounded by loyal and loving family and friends. And despite the fact that I’m desperate to upgrade my cell to an iPhone, I’m happy, healthy and quite fulfilled. So why, when I got a glimpse into Andy’s life, did I feel, for just a bit, like I shouldn’t be?

For a few weeks now, I’ve pondered why I felt that way. Why did I care what Andy was doing? Why did it kind of nag at me? Well, probably because it made me feel like I don’t have that interesting or unique of a life. The kind of life that sounds so enviable when you meet up at the 20-year reunion…

Andy: “Why yes, I travel to the Amazon on archaeology expeditions and I just finished writing my first suspense novel.”

And you, Jen?

Me: “Well, I volunteer for the PTA, I get paid to write on occasion, and last week I found a cute little cropped jacket at T.J. Maxx for $3.00 on the clearance rack, no joke! Oh, and my son just lost his 4th tooth!”

Yup. Andy and I have each gone down very different paths over the past 20 years. His is certainly more glamorous and free, while mine is laden with the pleasures of a simple and domesticated life. Looking back on it though, he always walked to the beat of different drummer, so I really shouldn’t be surprised. And I was well, always a white-picket-fence kind of girl. Despite that though, I’m definitely a little jealous of Andy and his cool Facebook life, even if I don’t really know much about his actual life. That’s the beauty, and the danger, of the ol’ F.B. You look through a crystal ball into the future and you get these little nuggets of information to piece together of “what ever happened to so-and-so.” But you’re also forced to turn a mirror on yourself. To see how you present yourself in a little blurb and a few photos. It’s both very cool and unnerving.

I have, however, truly succumbed to the world of Facebook. And I’ve have had some great reunions, a few surprises, and in some cases, a bit of closure. And I’ve come to terms with the fact that someone’s “profile” is not the beginning, the middle or the end of their story. It’s just a check point on everyone’s journey. And at best, it’s just scratching the surface.

It has also made me realize that all in all, the past 20 years have been very good to me. And perhaps now I actually have a better sense of what I want out of the next 20 (healthy, happy kids, more writing gigs, an excuse for my husband and I to renew our passports, and a dang iPhone).

So thanks Andy.
For the memories and the lovely prom photo.
For the glimpse into your life.
And in the end, for the chance to “Face” my own life lesson.