My laughter erupted, colliding obnoxiously with the nearly silent restaurant. His lips moved into the silly smirk that I’ve grown to recognize as a simultaneous acknowledgment of his silliness and reinforcement of his seriousness. This time, he was expressing his disbelief at how people now spend more time on Facebook and less time on *ahem* other types of websites. In his fingers, he twirled a necklace that he found on the sidewalk as he walked to lunch that day, or at least that is what he said. I responded,
“Really? I totally get it. Facebook is so much more interesting.”
This will be one of the last (perhaps the last) of our meetings like this because he is leaving in ten days. His leaving will mark the end of an era. An era, that is ending for a number of reasons, not just because he is moving to Ubatuba.
On May 1st, I will (finally!) graduate from my dual-masters degree program. I’ve been attending part-time (while working continuously full-time) since 2006. For the past five years, my life has been consumed with work-work and school work. I really can’t wait to curl up with a copy of Glamour instead of Kissinger or Kotter. Eh…let’s not kid ourselves, I’m graduating, not abandoning my geeky ways.
An “older brother” type, my friendship with this fabulous fella from Brazil and his sister has represented a carefree aspect of my life in the past few years. With them, I’ve spent the rare moments where I’d stop working or thinking about working and just live. Really live. True friendship has this effect, when you can stop thinking about the to-do lists swirling around you and let yourself feel alive.
During #reverb10, I ignored what I believe is one of the most fundamental prompts of the entire exercise: One Word.
Almost two whole months into the 2011, I realize that the one word that most describes 2010 is friendship, because this word earned a new meaning to me last year. Many new friendships were cemented and old friendships were tested. The process has given me a better understanding of what friendship means to me in my life.
People often ask me if I will move to be closer to friends who live in other cities. However, I am continually fascinated by my generation’s ability to maintain close friendships without being bullied by geographical constraints. There are a couple of obvious reasons for this. First, we’re well-traveled, so getting on a plane is no big deal. Second, we’re able to maintain relationships virtually which makes staying in touch easier than it would have been 30 years ago. Sometimes I see my friends that live on the other side of the country more than I see my friends that live on the other side of the city (maybe it is that whole thing about bridges in Pittsburgh?) . Everyone is so busy, and it is much harder to blow off plans when you have hotel reservations and a plane ticket.
As I carry this understanding of my friendships into 2011, my focus is global. My ability to maintain these friendships, cultivate similar relationships and achieve satisfaction in my life hinges on a global perspective. In friendships, in travel, in work, in study, in life – my focus is global, which is already playing out quite literally this year.
As we walked out of the restaurant in our beautiful neighborhood, he twirled the necklace more rapidly whipping it around one side of his palm to the other. I asked him if he’d miss Shadyside, snowboarding or boozy Sunday brunches. I promised to visit soon.
In the mean time, good thing for Facebook.