The more things change. . . .
As I thought on this theme one thing that occurred to me is that the theme of social transience has been coming up a lot in my mind and in my life.
We live in a time when we connect with others across continents almost as much as we do in person. Families do not live in the same state or even country and people move often. It inhibits the social networks that we need to be supported by others. The internet is stepping into the gap. It is faster and cheaper than phone calls but also less personal. Or more, because I do not need to look you in the eye when I tell you something embarrassing.
The lack of stable social networks means no one to catch us when we fall, no extended family to serve as babysitters when couples need a night out, sometimes even no one to bury us when we die. It is sad but that came up in a conversation I had recently with someone who feels very alone in the world. Will My-Space friends pay for funeral costs? Sounds rather cynical doesn't it?
I learned in the Boomer Chronicles blog, that one of the top 10 "Boomer Trends for 2007" is faux families. My first thought was I already had one and always recommend it to the people I know who come from "dysfunctional families" or merely those that are spread out like too much butter on toast. Not speaking to relatives is a professional sport in my extended family. But I am so much better off than some people I know that I feel like I'm bragging when I say I am spending the holidays with my father and his wife.
I remember calculating when I was 16 that I had lived in 16 different homes. (No I was not the child of military people or diplomats). I had survived parental divorces (yes, the plural is intended) and step-parents, several elementary schools but only one high school and so on. No doubt this has something to do with the story I told a day or two ago about my running-way-from-home fantasy.
Now, I don't want anyone to think I am moaning as I spend my Christmas Eve stuffed on good food, playing Axis and Allies with nearly all the next-of-kin I am on speaking terms with, and sharing my life's little stories on my personal blog. Some change is a wonderful thing.
Without blogging, how else would I get to spy on Christmas displays in Paris, New York or London on a rainy day on the Pacific Northwest Coast?
Merry Christmas to those who observe it and a good night to all the rest.