Fade Away.

Fade Away.

I’ve been struggling to think about people I used to know. I grew up in a small town. I went to a small college. Most of my jobs have been long term. There were people I saw almost every single day and now it’s been so long since I’ve seen them I can barely remember that they used to exist in my world. Facebook became a place to reconnect with old friends and, of course, their lives have gone on just as mine has but I still see them there. Some are further in the background than others, slightly more blurry in my mind’s eye.

There are others I only hear about in passing. Gossip and rumors, hey-did-you-hear-about-this-one sort of stuff that floats around, the things that make old friends talk because it is their common ground. People we used to know – we share that.

And then there are others who just appear to be gone. I’m sure if I asked I could find out their deal. They hate social media or they moved away but their mom is in town or whatever. I’m sure they exist in some space and they are, somewhere, a fixture. Just like they used to be for me. Just like I used to be for them. Maybe.

Time always marches on. Things always change. People will always come and go. It seems like we take for granted that people will always be around simply because they were always around. But then they just aren’t and years go by and suddenly I realize that people have just faded away out of my memory.

People, as much as we may not want to admit it, just become obsolete. There’s some newer person who swoops in, maybe she’s more clever or more hip or more cool but whatever she is she’s just more of it. As much as things change people do, too, and it’s one of those things we can’t stop if we try but we don’t always notice it until it’s too late. And whether it’s that we let someone replace our old people or someone let us get replaced when I stop and think about it, it just leaves this cavernous pit in my stomach because all of us, each and every one of us, is replaceable even if we swear up and down that it’ll be different.

It won’t be different.

And before long, we’re just gone. Maybe we’ll pop into someone’s head someday and maybe someone will ask whatever happened to? or maybe not. Maybe we never pop back up. Maybe we’re completely forgotten.

Maybe we all just fade away.

Sometimes I feel like I’m not a real person, like I’m just a shadowy specter floating in the background until it’s time to fade away.

 

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26 Responses to “Fade Away.”

  1. I often feel sentimental about people this way too, although less than I used to since the advent of facebook etc. where it’s pretty easy to re-connect, even if on a purely a lurking level. I kinda miss not knowing where or what people are these days and imagining them imagining me. The reality is that most are looking old and podgy. There’s no mystique left anymore and that makes me sad. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, feeling all nostalgic now!

    • michellelongo says:

      I don’t have a high level of comfort for mysteries and the unknown. I like things to be clear and predictable. When I step back and think about how things that were once so connected are no so different (particularly in terms of people), I find it astounding. It’s one of those big ideas that is very difficult to wrap my head around and yet it’s so familiar in some ways.

  2. katydidknot says:

    I feel bad about not staying in contact with people sometimes. I mean, I’m really bad at it.

    But there ARE people I stay in contact with, so I assume the others just aren’t a priority for me. (Sorry, Grandma!)

    The funny thing is, when 10 years go by and go and talk to them again, I usually remember why it was I stopped answering their phone calls…

    • michellelongo says:

      Sometimes I feel guilty and sometimes I don’t. I do wonder what others think of when they think of me. Probably the same thing, right? And yeah, I totally get that, ‘Oh yeah, this is why we stopped talking…” feeling with some people!

  3. I often lament that there weren’t all these social media tools in the past that would have let me stay connected with people. But I guess if I really, REALLY had wanted to stay in contact, there were always letters and phones. Sometimes, when you know longer are in the midst of that shared experience, it’s just hard to find common ground for conversation.

  4. Sam Merel says:

    “Time always marches on. Things always change.”

    This is so, so true. I think in my adult life this has been one of the hardest truths to contend with. I try to be better at accepting that things are constantly changing, but I’m not so sure I’ve accepted it yet. Change will always be hard, especially when it comes to people.

    • michellelongo says:

      I won’t lie. I don’t accept change well. Especially when I’m the one left behind. I always wonder if people take that better than I do or if they just pretend they do.

  5. I have lived across three countries in my 31 years and I must admit, people have begun to fade away from my memory particularly from when I lived in Oman between the ages of 5 to 9. It happens I suppose. People fade. The places fade. The memories fade. We might hold on to a few and a lot more these days thanks to social media but it’s the important ones that will remain.

    • michellelongo says:

      I remember the important people, but will those people remember us? Will we rank as important in their memories? That’s the question.

  6. kalpana solsi says:

    Earlier I used to be upset and sulk when people ignored me for reasons unknown to me. I believed that people who came into my life were there to stay till eternity. But as I grow wiser,I have realised that not all people share my views and life is a journey with different passengers at different phases of life.

    • michellelongo says:

      There are some people who, when they let go of me, it’s not as hurtful. Others though, the ones where I thought we had a meaningful connection and then it’s gone, those are the ones that still pain me.

  7. Natalie DeYoung says:

    I have been feeling this lately–and feeling obsolete, in a lot of ways. Talk about feeling your mortality.

    • michellelongo says:

      Feeling obsolete is so awful, especially when you didn’t see it coming. I’ve been struggling with it. I do not like the way friendships are so fluid. Or at least they seem fluid to me.

  8. ohh i am now wrapped in your melancholy. it is all so transitory and fleeting. as my grandma used to say, life is just a dream. blink and your gone. so it’s all meaningless? yeah, maybe but it also makes the moments we have with those we love that much more meaningful. i don’t know, but at least now i no longer care that this morning i gained 2 pounds.

    • michellelongo says:

      Well, I do love to drag people into my melancholy 😉 The moments we have are meaningful, but the more meaning, the deeper the losses cut, right?

  9. Nothing lasts forever. I know this and yet when I read this, I wonder…why, why does it all have to be so ephemeral?

    • michellelongo says:

      It reminds me of that saying about how it’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. I’m not so sure that’s true.

  10. Nancy Lowell says:

    Michelle, I often have those same thoughts. I think of those absent people getting swallowed up by the here and now rushing by.

    • michellelongo says:

      It’s like sometimes I have these moments where I realize I forgot to think of someone at a certain time or date when I should have. It makes me wonder how it is they escaped my mind when there was a time when I couldn’t imagine forgetting them. And I wonder if people think of me this way.

  11. Stacie says:

    This makes me sad but I so hear you. I do think the moves have been easier on my boys because of social media and facetime/skype. I was just the other day thinking of my best friend in kindergarten who moved away. I can’t find her. She might have a different last name but her name is also not uncommon so there are too many. I still have the small stuffed kangaroo she gave me when she left. It was my favorite toy of hers and she gave it to me. We wrote letters for a little while but then…I wish I could find her. And I wonder if she ever thinks about me.

    • michellelongo says:

      I have a similar old friend – she moved in 3rd grade. I wonder if she ever wonders about me. I can’t find her either. I wish I didn’t care if anyone thought about me, but I do.

  12. Lance says:

    I’ve been going through this too, especially with “old” friends and family.

    Perspective and reflection are important but they screw with your head and both of us are classic over-thinkers, right?

    I see you…hang in there

    • michellelongo says:

      Oh my goodness, yes, with the over thinking! I often wonder how people deal with this without talking about it so much and I realize they probably aren’t thinking about it as much as I am. You totally captured all this with your comment. Thanks for seeing me.

  13. dowbiggin says:

    I’ve gone through similar thinking over the years. Having changed jobs a bunch in NJ, then moving to California and having a few jobs here, I got really close to certain people, but then when geography and/or different jobs meant we no longer had that common ground, we just sort of drifted apart. Not intentionally, of course, but we just didn’t share common times anymore. And I tend to become really close with people. I’m too open I’ve been told. It means that I get hurt when things change. But for me, it’s worth it.

    • michellelongo says:

      We are similar – I make friends fast, hurt when I lose them. It IS worth it, but some days I do question that. Glad I’m not alone in this one.

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