20 Years Later

May 17, 2012 at 7:38 am | Posted in Friends Then and Now | Leave a comment
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This past weekend I was treated to a very special visit from an old friend  — a friend I had not seen in 20 years.  It is hard to believe that I am old enough to be able to say that, but in this day and age, reconnecting is easier than ever!

Of course, when I first knew this woman, we were not even in our double digits in age, and computers at that point still had black screens and green type, the Internet was but a dream in some genius’s mind.  And in all honesty, we were very young, and I’m not one of those people who has vivid memories from my childhood.  I remembered who she was immediately, but specific memories of our relationship did not readily come to mind.

Still, I was amazed that she remembered me.  I wondered, what did I do to leave such an impression on her mind? So I had to ask, and her answer was not at all surprising.

We were pen pals.  As in, pen and paper.  Good old fashioned letter writing.  I don’t know how long we kept in touch this way for, but it was long enough for her to remember me all these years later.

This didn’t surprise me because I was always an avid writer, always anxious to keep in touch with the people I met in my life.  I would have my friends sign “autograph” books with their addresses at the end of the school year or at the end of camp.  One of the few remaining things in my old bedroom closet is a box of letters from the various pen pals I had over the years.

And even as the internet took over, even as my phone became attached to my hip all hours of the day, I still continued to write letters well into my college career.  For my friends who traveled abroad, they still recall the letters that I wrote and say how nice it was to receive them.

So both modern technology and traditional writing played a role in the reuniting of two old friends.  It was an absolute pleasure to see her, and although she is back in her native Japan once again, I hope I don’t have to wait another 20 years to see her.  And if I do, I imagine it will be another super interesting reunion (and hopefully it will be on her turf!)

Reunited (and it feels so good)

June 9, 2011 at 7:37 am | Posted in Friends Then and Now | 3 Comments
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Ever since I was little, I was always known as the friend who kept in touch.  I arranged many a reunion (I guess this falls in line with my obsession with planning) and wrote letters (and like, put a stamp on an envelope and mailed them, remember that?).  But as the years have gone by, I have to admit I haven’t been as good at keeping in touch, even with the advent of  Facebook.  Still, I try and lately I’ve employed a new method for reuniting with old friends.

Whenever I go away on business, I find out who is living in that area and I try to make plans.  A lot of my friends have moved to other places and with a job like mine that requires monthly business trips, I like to take these opportunities to reconnect.  I look for other opportunities as well.  On my recent trip to Miami, which was not a business trip, I met up with a former classmate who was attending the same blogger conference as me, and we ended up spending a lot of time together down there. My one-on-one reunions are not totally limited to business trips. I’ve had some reunions with old friends who live locally as well.

Of course all the reunions have different outcomes.  Sometimes you make a true reconnection with an old friend.  Sometimes you get to know someone on a level you never knew them on before.  And sometimes, you realize that, while you were close when you were young, you went down completely different paths, and it can be hard to relate to each other anymore.

But I don’t like to think negatively about those last kinds of reunions.  Not every reunion is going to reignite a friendship.  But a lucky few will.  With a lucky few, you will be able to pick up where you left off, or in a better place. You will be able to forget whatever tore you apart in the first place (if there really was anything).  Sometimes time can heal old wounds, and sometimes time, and revisiting faces of the past, can help us understand how far we have come.

What I enjoy most about these reunions is the memories they spark from my past.  Everyone remembers different aspects of growing up and hearing new perspectives on old situations can be eye opening.  All in all, I just like to hear the journey that different people take in their lives, the journey that led them to meet up with me at that moment in time.

Everyone has a story to tell, and you will play a role in many people’s stories.  Why not pick up a few books?

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