The Friends I’ve Left Behind



I spent the first 24 years of my life in the same house.  I lived on campus during my first year of college, but I never really considered it home, and after that first year, I became a commuter.  I was never particularly adventurous.

Since then, I’ve moved four times and had seven jobs.  I’ve met a lot of people.  Most of them didn’t leave much of a mark on me.  I met them, maybe laughed with them, learned some things about them, and moved on.  They might give me a passing thought now and then, as I do them, but nothing more.

I sometimes talk about how Facebook and other social media have allowed us to disconnect in some ways, and I still believe that.  But I’ve also been able to connect with other people I’d lost touch with.  I stay connected with childhood friends and family.  Though I may not follow their daily lives, I can see how they’re doing and how they’re children are doing.  It’s a really nice thing that would have been difficult and unlikely in a pre-technology world.

There are a handful of people who’ve been important to me, who I’ve lost contact with for one reason or another.  There was a guy I worked with at Wal-mart, and we didn’t stay in touch when I moved to a different job.  There was a couple who my husband and I hung out with.  We moved out of that area abruptly and during a period of transition, lost touch.  I don’t remember their last names.

I think about them, and others, from time to time and wonder what’s happened to them, how they’re doing, and where they’ve been.  I’d love to reconnect with some of these people, just to know how they’re doing.

When I started moving on, leaving people behind, I didn’t think of it that way.  For the first two decades plus of my life, I’d stayed put, so I didn’t think about the effort it takes to stay connected.

I’m grateful for our connected world, but I’m also aware that real connections take effort.  And if someone is important, they’re worth the effort.  Sometimes people get left behind, and that’s okay too.

I’ve been the person that’s been left behind, and I have to remind myself that people don’t always do it on purpose.  There are a lot of reasons to lose touch with someone.

That’s why it’s so important to really enjoy the people I’m with, be in the moment with them, without cell phones or distractions.  If I lose touch with them, I’ll have had those great moments.  It’s okay to move on, to have different friends or different interests.

None of us stand still.  Or we shouldn’t, if we’re growing.

Have you had an experience of losing touch with a friend and wishing you could reconnect?

How Many Likes Do I Have?

I resisted joining Instagram for awhile.  Well, to be more accurate, I joined, but I didn’t understand it, so I left my account abandoned for a few years.

Recently, I’ve been trying to be more active on social media and learn more about it.  I resurrected my Instagram account and started posting.

I followed a few accounts, mostly people like me who like books, like posting pictures of books, like admiring their bookshelves and browsing through bookstores.  From my first post, I started getting likes.  It was oddly satisfying, seeing that people saw my photo and took just a second to click the like button.  It made me feel validated, somehow.

I asked friends to tell me more about monthly photo challenges, and they directed me to search for #circleofbookishfriends.  So I found and joined a bookish photo challenge for October.


Getting likes is encouraging.  It makes me want to post more.  Just like comments and likes here are reinforcing.  (Hint, hint).

It made me wonder how many behaviors in real life could be reinforced if a virtual thumbs up popped up.  I think that giving trophies for participation is a bad thing because it  rewards everyone, no matter what their effort or ability.  But I do think that people tend to not recognize the good stuff other people do.  Or maybe they recognize it, but just don’t acknowledge it.  Either way, I try to make sure that I notice when people do something I like, and to say something out loud.

In any case, it’s fun to post pictures of books and to see what other people are reading.  I enjoy looking at books as art pieces, and taking time to compose a shot and appreciate the aesthetics of my books.

If you post your Instagram handle in the comments, I’ll be sure to follow you.  I’m @doreeweller.

What do you like about social media?


Look Up

Desert Botanical Gardens Phoenix AZ Photo Credit: Doree Weller

Desert Botanical Gardens
Phoenix AZ
Photo Credit: Doree Weller

Someone yesterday told me that she feels lonely even when she’s around other people.  She then told me about a video she’d seen that described exactly how she feels.  Look Up is an incredibly powerful poem/ video about how we’ve allowed technology to isolate us.

About 6 months ago, I was out to dinner with my husband.  He was doing something on his phone, and I looked around at other couples in the restaurant.  They were sitting together and on their phones.  I go out to dinner with friends, and they say they want to see me, but then spend a lot of time checking their phones or checking in on Facebook or taking pictures of their dinner.

Technology was not meant to isolate us.  At its best, it’s a tool that can make all of our lives easier.  I have information at my fingertips.  I can carry photos with me without having those plastic things in my wallet.  (Side note: do kids exchange school pictures anymore, writing notes on the back?)

We don’t experience things firsthand anymore.  We experience them through a camera.  It’s as if things aren’t real until we check in on Facebook, tweet about it, or Instagram it. Facebook has become the new journal.  Instead of writing down private thoughts, we put everything out there.  The information is there, but it becomes virtually meaningless.  There’s no filter as to what’s important and what’s not.  It all takes on a false importance that renders everything unimportant.

Maybe I won’t remember every detail of my trip if I don’t use “social” media, but maybe I’ll enjoy it more.  Feel more about it.  Relax more.  Have private jokes to share with just one person.  We don’t connect with strangers in line anymore, because we’re too busy texting or checking Facebook.  Then, if we fall, we wonder why no stranger stops to help us up.  Why should they?  They haven’t connected with us, and it’s everyone’s fault.  Yours, mine, theirs.  If you feel lonely, and you’re on your phone or other device in public, I challenge you to put it down and smile at a stranger.  They might look away.  They might glare at you.  Because we don’t do that anymore.  But change doesn’t happen overnight, and if you want to see change in the world, IT HAS TO START WITH YOU.

So, if this video touched you or anything I’ve said strikes a chord with you, please be aware of how you’re using technology.  Look up from your phone or iPad and be in the world for a minute.  Don’t check in; don’t upload pictures of your food.  Have a journal or a notebook instead of a Facebook.  Just be in the moment.  And see what happens.

I’m a Goodreads Author!

The Spirit Room, Jerome AZ

The Spirit Room, Jerome AZ

Not long ago, I joined Goodreads.  I don’t like to dip too much into various social media, but how can social media with books be bad?

When I opened my account, I noticed that I was listed as a Goodreads author, and listed are two of the books in which my stories have appeared:  In Space, No One Can Hear You Scream, and Blood & Roses.  And after the initial thrill of noticing that I was an author listed there, I didn’t do anything else for about two months.

Last week, I took another look at my profile and realized I could apply to have some control over my profile, linking my blog to it and writing an “about me” section (oh yay, that’s my favorite thing…).  So, I did.  You may have noticed that over on the right is a list of books I’ve read.  I’m trying to keep Goodreads posted on what I’m reading, as well as keeping a 2014 list for myself.  (I’m 18 books in for the year and have not yet managed to read any of the classics on my list.)

If you haven’t checked out Goodreads for yourself, now’s the time.  Like Netflix, once you let it know what you like, it makes recommendations.