I had an odd experience today. Facebook made me grateful to be 30, grateful to be where I am, grateful for my current friendships - both old and new! - and immensely grateful to be the person I am now, in 2011, apart from all of the people I have tried to be over the years.
One of the funny things about Facebook is the fact that I am FB friends with plenty of people whom I wasn't terribly close to in real life. Also funny is that I am close to some people now, in my young adult life, who I was barely friends or acquaintances with when we were in school together (high school, college, or seminary). I am grateful for these "late-blooming" friendships, and grateful for the people I have stayed close to over any number of years...and also grateful for moving on beyond other relationships.
Let me explain. Today on Facebook, I looked at pictures that a FB friend of mine posted - a person who I was in lots of activities with at school, but a person who I wasn't very close to. The pictures were of him hanging out with other folks who I went to school with. They all looked great - happy, healthy, enjoying their opportunity to reunite for some summer fun. The pictures are all of people who I desperately wanted to like me back in the day. An "in-crowd" of sorts. Since we all did the same activities, I saw these people a lot, and shared lots of experiences with them. But I never was accepted by them as a friend. I was never on the inside of them. And years ago, it bothered me. A lot. I couldn't figure out why a group of people that I had so much in common with would cast me to the outside before they had even gotten the chance to know me.
But as I looked at them in those pictures today, I felt some of that old insecurity fall away. I felt happy for them that they were happy. And I felt sort of strange about the fact that I could be FB friends with some of them even though they didn't ever give me the time of day. And it stopped mattering to me that I wasn't a part of them.
I looked around at my life and felt grateful for all of my relationships. I felt like, at 30, I was finally allowed to admit that life is better now and I like myself better now than I ever did during high school or college or even seminary. It as if I wanted to believe that each of those parts of my life was the best part of my life. And truly, I've had some amazing and blessed experiences throughout each of those stages of my adolescence and young adulthood. But today, Facebook made me feel keenly aware of how much I've grown beyond those days. It's refreshing to be at a point in life where there isn't an in-crowd anymore. It's refreshing to be at a point in life beyond adolescent drama. It's refreshing to be my own person, charting my own way, and feeling, in some small way, that I have finally "arrived." And, honestly, it's nice to feel secure enough in who I am to be able to look back at all the people I used to try to impress and think, "I don't need to waste my time seeking approval anymore. I like the person I've become and I like the life I am living."
I don't know if it's the fact that I'm now 30, or if it's the fact that I'm about to leave the country for a few weeks (for the first time), or if it's something else completely, but I'm just feeling grateful right now for all the blessings in my life - people and otherwise - and grateful for the ability to outgrow the past. Maybe that's just a part of growing up.