When I was about three, my parents and I moved to Montreal. In the six years we stayed there, my brother was born, I switched schools once, and made many great friends, especially during my last year in that city, in Grade 3. I kept in contact with my two best friends, but as for the rest of my schoolmates, it was kind of a final goodbye. At that age, I still hadn’t discovered the magic of social media.
Flash forward to the beginning of this week. I’m on my laptop, staring, indecisive, at my screen. An eight letter word painted in white stands out from the smooth blue background. Underneath, a convincing piece of advice: “Sign Up. It’s free and always will be”. I contemplate, but really, I’ve already made my decision, whether I agree with it or not. And though I’m several years late, I quickly type in my name, email, password, and birthday. I check on the “Female” button, and click “Sign Up”. There, I’ve finally made myself a Facebook account.
Why did I bother creating an account on a platform of social media that most of my friends have ditched in favour of Twitter and Instagram? Well, the professional side in me thought it’d still be a great way to promote my blog, and the reasonable side in me, well, thought it was about time I checked out what happened to all my old friends back in Montreal.
Not that I needed to know. But as I like to say, “Curiosity killed the cat, but it sure as heck didn’t kill the human”.
So, supported by this quote that basically means “YOLO”, my not stalker-ish stalking spree began. First, of course, I found my two best friends. They had suggested before that I should get a Facebook account, so their presence on the site didn’t come as a surprise. Then, I proceeded to find my other friends. I found each and every single one of whom I still had recollection of. Even those whom I only remembered their first name.
And so as my multiple friend requests were steadily getting accepted, I was steadily able to paint an updated image of the people my friends had became, in the six years my connection was cut from them. In one way, their changes were drastic. But in another, they still had the reflection of the Grade 3 self as I remembered them, a little muddled in my memory, but still a distinct certainty.
I wondered, as I greedily scrolled through the pictures on their walls, would I still have been friends with them, if I was still living in Montreal right now? Maybe. Would I be a different person? Yes.
Because I believe friends have a way in shaping your personality. For good or for bad. Having attended 5 different schools, and going to a new one next year, I’ve been fortunate to have encountered many great friends along the years, so I’ve only benefited from their presence. In each school, I’ve made friends with contrasting natures who have all taught me a little about myself. And although it is extremely difficult to always part ways with them, they’ve all left such a definite impact in me that I never worry about forgetting them.
That is why I quit wondering about the perhaps that would never be a perhaps. Because I no longer feel an urge to know what would have happened had I not moved away; I only feel deep gratitude for all the friendships I have forged, and for the many that are waiting to be born.