A Boomer Ponders Reconnection with Old Friends

Generations before ours couldn’t do what we now can do: reconnect with people we knew in the distant past. Thanks to social media, baby boomer Jeanne Litwin of Newtown, Pennsylvania, has found links to her past that have been as good as the bonds she’s made since then.

I find it curious that in my sixties, I have reconnected with people who I was friends with in my twenties. I was a free spirit during my college days and after graduation I traveled the world during two extended solo backpacking trips.

Jeanne Litwin

The first trip was six months through North America, which eventually led to an 18-month trip through Oceania, Southeast Asia, and the United Kingdom. Following my travels, I had a vital career in the corporate world as an environmental professional, until recently retiring.

Jeanne with Engish friend crossing the river to Burma – 1984

My first reconnection was through a LinkedIn algorithm that alerted me to an old flame “that I may know.” This prompted me to “link him in” and just like that, we were reacquainted, so much so that my husband and I eventually spent a month in New Zealand visiting this old flame and his family, some 35 years since our long-ago courtship.

That same year I contacted a college friend while on a business trip to San Francisco. She had moved to California decades before and when we met up, we spent a long weekend catching up and have been in touch ever since. Then I got an invite to join a Facebook High School page and was reunited with my old clique. We now get together with spouses every month for a meal.

Jeanne with her English friend in London – 2010.

Most important for me is a reconnection with my best friend from London. We met in a small town in Australia and then trekked together through Southeast Asia. Over the years, we periodically traveled together until other commitments prevailed. The pandemic shutdown prompted a weekly FaceTime catch-up that has lasted for the past 18 months.

Jeanne and her husband at Milford Sound in New Zealand.

My relationship with these old friends has unexpectedly continued for a couple of years now. At first, I thought the power of technology and social media was the reason for these revived bonds. But that didn’t explain the staying power of my reconnections.

Why do I choose to stay closer to these old friends who I haven’t been in touch with for years rather than friends I made during my adulthood? Perhaps they knew a part of me that I thought was lost, the person I was before my hectic professional lifestyle took over.

It took several years to decompress after I retired, and I find myself trying to rediscover myself. Who better to bring out the best of me than the folks who knew me when.

2 Comments

  1. I also have been fortunate to reunite with old friends through social media. At first we only talked about the ‘old days’ but now, just like when we were teens we chat about everything. I agree, it’s good to be with someone who knew me when I was a kid.

  2. Wonderful piece. It can be one of the biggest joys in retirement – finding those lost parts of us that became buried due to the practicalities of raising a family or career. The reintegration brings a “wholeness” to our being. Thank you for the reminder.

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