Old Faces

Getting older and having known so many people, I can look at a crowd and usually spot faces that “look just like someone I once knew.” It usually triggers a memory or two. It’s a comforting feeling, because there is something comforting about memories, old days, and old faces.

The older you get, the more you notice that places and situations, as well as people, start to remind you of something from the past. You’ve seen everything, so everything you see reminds you of something.

The best way to remember people is to visit in person, to see the actual old face of an old friend. I was single in midlife and decided to revisit an old friend from twenty years earlier. A month later we were married. That was ten years ago, and now I see my favorite “old face” every single day. It’s wonderful to share the present with someone who can also share the past that we have in common, living today, planning new days, talking about old days.

Seeing old faces doesn’t always lead to weddings, but it’s usually a welcome opportunity for reminiscing and maybe even realigning forgotten ideals, goals, and actions. Sometimes visiting, or accidentally bumping into, an old face is just a pleasant moment, a brief stand against the hectic stream of time.

Nowadays social media puts all those old faces right on your screen and you can catch up on the past twenty years, or the past twenty seconds, at the click of a message-button. To me that has been a good experience over these six or seven years of FB et al. But don’t let it fool you, you didn’t actually visit your old friend, you virtually visited, literally virtually, looking in a mirror dimly. There’s still nothing better than seeing an old friend in person, old-face-to-old-face, sipping coffee, eating lunch, talking amid the actual presence, the flavor, the tone, the scent, the color, and the texture of real life (RL).

I’ve moved around a lot, so I don’t live near my old friends and faces, except my wife, who has the freshest face I’ve ever seen. For my other old friends, social media will have to do. But if you live in the same town as your old friends, by all means take advantage of it.

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