Stanley Holmes talked about how Facebook is a facade. I agree. To help you better understand who I am today, I’ll compare what you can see on Facebook about my life versus what’s reality.
FB – I live in coastal Maine somewhere near the beach. Probably can infer that I have a decent job and am not living check to check. REALITY: That’s all true. I live in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. I moved here almost 20 years ago, after working in Seattle and NYC for two years each. I’ve had some career success, which so far includes very interesting and engaging work. So far in life, work has come easy to me. Here is something that may surprise you. My wife out earns me. It isn’t even close. I’m the reason we live in ME; she’s the reason why I post pictures of the ocean.
FB – I have a beautiful family with whom I spend the majority of my time.
REALITY: That’s also true. I have an amazing wife, Nicole. I have two children: Camden, 18; and Madeline, 4. Here’s where things get interesting. Camden is a lovechild. I’ve previously been married and divorced, which included three stepchildren. I don’t think anyone who has known me foresaw this sequence of events. I know I didn’t. I love being a father; that has come easy. My adult relationships with women have been one learning experience after another. I’ve struggled with intimacy. I’m lucky to have found someone who doesn’t expect love to come easily.
FB – Something happened with my son.
REALITY: Again…That’s true. Camden moved with his mother to TX halfway through his sophomore year. He wanted to give TX football a shot. State universities are better in TX. He’s not all that fond of ME winters. His leaving hurt me deep. I had spent much of my adult life overcompensating for the circumstances into which he was born, so I was shocked and then devastated when it felt like he had abandoned me. I spent time working with a therapist. He and I started working through it. Then something funny happened…my older sister, who has invested a lot of into Camden, reported that he was thinking of moving back to ME for his senior year. I didn’t believe it. Then it happened. I don’t know that I can express in words the gratitude that I have felt since his return; it permeates my every day.
FB – Struggled with the election.
REALITY: True. I don’t identify as either conservative or liberal. I view politics as a steering wheel. Sometimes you need to adjust to the left or the right. If you steer one direction only, you’ll go in a circle. That said…I could have lived with almost any candidate not named Donald Trump. I don’t respect how Donald Trump has handled himself. Ever.
FB – Doesn’t have a lot of friends. Doesn’t get out much. Spends most of his free time with dogs.
REALITY: Mostly true. Just like at DHS, I have a handful of close friends. I wish I had taken more time to know my classmates. Unfortunately, many of my current friends are spread all over the country. Except, of course, for the two that sleep at the end of my bed. I still don’t get out much. I like to read. Or run in the woods. My primary vice continues to be Coke and Pepsi products.
FB – Posts more from the NY Times than I do from the Bible.
REALITY: Again…that’s true. Faith came easy to me as a younger man. Faith as an adult has been a struggle. I’ve had to let go of evangelical fundamentalism. I can’t stand the “prosperity gospel” of Joel Osteen & co. I’m left with what I can believe…which is, to paraphrase Christ: 1) love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind; and 2) love thy neighbor as thyself. That, I can get behind.
FB: Way over the top interested in the lives of people with which he went to high school.
REALITY: I own that, with the following caveat: it’s new. After graduating from college, I stayed away until our first ten year high school reunion. I showed up and was awarded a “most successful” honor, when the only thing at which I was most successful was staying out of Dickinson. Even then, Aaron Verinder likely had me beat. I’ve never felt like such a fraud. I spoke to Nanette Tucker that night and she asked me questions that made me uncomfortable and made me think. We had all been friends when we were younger…where had I gone in high school? She was right. Same age. Same school. Same church. Yet we had drifted apart. Not consciously. Each of us had been swept along based on tracking (AP, Honors, Advanced, Regular, Basic), after school responsibilities, and extra-curricular activities. I realized I didn’t even really know some of the people I thought of as my friends in my class in high school…while we were still in high school! And they didn’t know me or anything much about my life.
So I stayed away. I didn’t even come home to see my parents. I’d see them at family get togethers in Dallas with my sisters and extended family.
I also wasn’t active on social media. I had a FB account, but I didn’t regularly access it. I remember logging in a while back and seeing a message from Michelle Hathway asking if I could help with a reunion. I responded I would help if I could, but that I lived 2000+ miles away. She later came back and said “thanks” but that request was over a year old and the reunion had come and gone!
Then, this year…my Dad got sick and passed away. I spent 8-9 weeks in Dickinson over the course of theyear, caring for my parents. I started paying attention to social media. I saw some old teammates at Jimmy Nalepa’s funeral and loved listening to them talk about defining moments in our shared sports experiences. More importantly, I listened to them talk about their lives. When I left, I didn’t want it to stop. How could I reconnect? How could I know these people again with whom I share beginnings? That was the genesis of this project.
Hope you enjoy! Don’t wait if you want to reach out!