Life’s Faces

You never really know where you’ll end up. Elyse finds me walking up the Vanderlip Lawn: “Do you know what I’m going to ask you? You do, don’t you?” She smiles at me and asks me to write this article. So here’s what’s been happening in my world recently, and take from this whatever you desire.

A couple of weeks ago I was casually opening my Facebook page, and one of those message icons is lit. Honestly thinking it’s my mother in Ireland, I click on it, and instead it’s an old friend who’s found me on Facebook and has invited me to my high school reunion.

Apart from being shocked at being found on Facebook (I was so sure my account was locked from all viewing abilities, and my name has changed completely from my high school days), I gaze closer at the picture of the face grinning back at me from the web—OMG! I start clicking on images and find the faces of people I used to share car rides home with, the people I laughed with, the people with whom I did the silliest of things, and now I’ve clicked on their Facebook accounts and am reading stuff I do not feel comfortable reading—like seriously … this is how they turned out?! The loneliness, the frustration with trying to get so much for nothing, the complaining about how unfair life has been for them; I can’t believe I’m reading this… this can’t be how they really feel! I think about how they had so much more than me, and question at what point their lives took a different course from mine.

I look down the invited/responded/declined list for the reunion and cannot help clicking on some oh so familiar names. Memories flood back of the pretty girls, the party people, the nasty people, the geeks, the hunks, and the worker bees. I find the name of the richest girl I ever knew and remember how some people would have done anything to be her friend—she had an amazing house and is the only person (even to this day) that I know who has a heated outdoor pool in Northern Ireland. The saddest thing about being her was she really had no friends, only acquaintances, and I think she knew it. So, I’m looking at her picture and reading her latest entries—she’s struggling. Her life has changed so much since I last knew her—no pool, no big house, two marriages, two children, and she’s claiming welfare in order to survive—whatever happened…?

I certainly wasn’t the most popular kid. I didn’t go to a lot of dances because my parents wouldn’t allow me. I thought it was so unfair at the time and remember lots of moody stomping about the house in protest of how unjust and inhumane my treatment was. My parents worked very hard to give me all the things and opportunities they didn’t have, and my guilt is that only now as the aged Facebook faces stare back at me I realize that if my parents had let me loose to complete all my teenage desires, it would be someone else sitting on my comfy chair, watching my TV, surfing the internet on my computer, and living in the warmth of LA.

The party girls I remember being SO jealous of were now staring back at me from the computer screen, looking old and tired, but as I read on about their failed relationships, their struggles and little happiness, the smile fading quickly, as I realized they were still searching for where they were meant to be in this world.

I truly feel that everything happens for a reason, and we will all make mistakes, but as long as you work as hard as you can, and be the best person you can be, everyone will be so proud of you. Please don’t ever be that face staring back at me from Facebook so sad, stressed, and lonely. Make sure your heart is full of joy and you feel successful in whatever you choose to do, and most importantly, you’re happy just being you! I love you all so very, very much, and I cannot wait to see where you’ll end up!