I’ve been scouring through old photos stored upstairs in plastic bins as my son’s 21st birthday approaches. We’ve had a digital camera for 11 years but if I want older photos I have to use the old fashioned method. I know, I will get them digitialised but first I have to sort them and it’s a big job.
The great thing about looking through old photos are the memories that come back, a few with tears but most with smiles and laughter. What struck me about yesterday was how many people I’ve managed to stay in touch with or reconnect with because of changes in modern technology. There is so much complaining about how people spend too much time attached to their computers or smart phones, and how little time people use to connect face to face any more. While that can be true, in my experience modern technology has allowed me to keep in touch with people I would have lost contact with years ago.
When you move half-way around the world and only return every couple of years at best to visit, relying on letters and phone calls is ineffective. I’m someone who loves to write and even I couldn’t keep up a snail mail correspondence with my family and close friends. Sharing printed photos is too expensive and there is a time delay of a week to two weeks for mail to arrive. Most of my family and friends are not as enamoured with writing so responses could take months. That left phone calls which are now very reasonably priced but still require time and expense to connect.
Joining Facebook revolutionised my ability to stay connected. I have reconnected with former workmates, roommates, classmates and just mates. We can watch each other’s kids grow up, participate in every day as well as significant life events and respond as little or as much as we want. Often times something will either remind me of someone or I think it’s something they would appreciate. A former pilot, Fred, always loved our fried rice dinner which was handy for feeding half a dozen guys quickly. Occasionally I still send him a photo when I make it just so he knows I’m thinking about him and those times. He’s also big on puns. A photo I posted of a heart made of shells earned the quip, “Love isn’t shellfish”. Honestly, some things never change and I am thankful for that.
One of my aunts is in full time care and rarely leaves her facility. Her world has become very small and my cousin told me that she loves seeing the photos of our life in New Zealand, camping at the beach, swimming over summer, even cloud formations. An old roommate lives with her family on an island in SE Alaska, earning a living fishing and living off the land. She posts photos of seasonal migrations of sea and shore life, wolves and deer while I share photos of hens and baby chicks and citrus and other fruit trees as they flower and fruit. It’s absolutely lovely and I’m thankful we can share these every day moments regularly.
As I said earlier I looked through old photos and loved being reminded of a different place and time in our lives. And I am thankful that today those same people are still present in my life to make me smile or laugh, even if it isn’t in person.
It’s true that love knows no boundaries.