“Like a dog that returns to his vomit is a fool who repeats his folly.”
I’ve always been prone to a touch of drama, but this verse often came to mind over the last 2 years as I considered reactivating my facebook account. For those of you who have previously deactivated your accounts, you’d know that it sends you off with a little farewell message along the lines of “Sorry to see you go. If you ever change your mind, simply log on again with your old details and all your data will be restored.” Kind of creepy, but okay.
I decided a few months ago to take facebook up on that offer but, like most things, it took me a while to get around to it. Last night, after enjoying New Years Eve festivities with a few Aussie (well, ex-pat) friends and their families, followed by a couple good games of Catan, the time seemed right. Some of you may recall reading my blog post called Farewell to Facebook, in which I detailed my reasons for leaving. Looking back on that post, I can’t say I feel much differently now than I did then about Facebook’s capacity to waste time, but I guess I neglected to consider one critical factor: I like my friends.
I’m not a super nostalgic person… I mean, you’ve got to have some capacity to move on in order to uproot and move across the planet with your young family. Lots of ex-pats seem to suffer homesickness more than I do though, which is probably related in part to the fact that many retain mostly old-country interests (e.g. Canadians following ice hockey) instead of trying to get into local interests and culture (e.g. AFL, known affectionately as footy by most West Australians). I have found however, after almost 2 years away, that I’ve been thinking and wondering more about the old friends with whom I’m no longer connected in any way.
The turning point was about 3 months ago, while talking about music and jamming with some colleagues up north. The scene provoked a memory of the 2009 Relay for Life in Lab City and a somewhat ill-fated performance by The Iron Clad Commitment, a trio consisting of me and two IOC colleagues. I managed to develop a case of laryngitis that night, which caused my singing voice to deteriorate rapidly through the course of the set, but we had a blast despite the embarrassing pre-pubescent squeaks I was emitting on most high notes. Preparing for the set had been a lot of fun too, and as I dwelt on that memory I thought to myself, “I miss Louell” – Louell, if you are reading this, you can pretty much take credit for initiating my return to facebook.
There are lots of you out there though, particularly the ones who aren’t friends on facebook with Kathryn, who can share that credit: Radian6 friends, childhood/school friends, geologists and IVCFers, Labradorians and Kiwis. There’s nothing profound here, it’s just that I like you guys and I’ve missed you. Besides, I thought freeing up facebook time would have resulted in better blogging and creativity, but I’ve blogged less and arguably been less creative than ever before in 2014. Instead of my news feed, I’ve sunk more time into ABC, BBC, and CBC news. Rather than clever memes, funny videos, witty comments and (sometimes) valuable insights into my friends’ minds, I’ve read about terrorist plots, tragic murders and fiscal woes the world over.
I can’t say I’m happy to to associate myself with facebook again per se, but as I laid in bed last night in the wee hours of the 2015, scrolling through my news feed and seeing the faces and words of old friends – some with new beards and new babies – I’ve got to admit: it made me happy. I don’t feel like a dog returning to its vomit at all; more like one returning to a buried bone, rediscovering the pleasure of that familiar old flavour (haha, don’t overthink that one). It’s nice to see you all again.
Happy New Year, and keep an eye out for our upcoming annual Year In Review.