November 15th 2020

Today I helped my Grandma set up her new computer. And of course, because I do not have the required levels of patience to help her set it up, I mean ‘today I set up my grandma’s new computer and then showed her how to use it’.

In the process of transferring all her old files onto an external hard drive, I got all nostalgic. She’s got a load of photos on there from the early 2000s. Pre-smartphone era, post-analogue era. Actual camera era.

Found among the archives of .jpg images uploaded in alphabetised ‘My Pictures’ folders were photos of my 11th birthday party. My parents rented a sports hall and my Dad’s friend ran a football training session followed by a 6v6 match.

Here we all are:

It’s weird, looking at that. Other than the girls in the back to whom I am directly related, and the dude to my right sporting the biggest smile of anyone at the table (Hi Aaron), I don’t speak to anyone in that photo anymore.

I was eleven. It would be unheard of if all 12 of them turned out to be my friends for life, but it just made me think about friendships, and about moments in my life and the people I shared them with. And that’s what photos are for. To serve as a snapshot of that particular moment.

I’m a sucker for old photos, I really am. I keep all of mine. Everything gets dumped into a folder and I’ll go on a nostalgia trip every once in a while.

I guess I get that from my Mum, who clearly gets it from her Mum. They both have hard drives and CDs and photo albums full of them. And maybe you’ll look at some of them once every few years. And, you could say, if you look at them that infrequently, is it even worth having them in the first place?

I dunno. I think so.

Maybe this is normal, but when I look at that photo I don’t wonder what happened to any of those other kids. I don’t really care. I am still friends with only one of them (and I love him very much, and not just because he’ll be reading this), so I know what he’s up to (mostly), but I couldn’t tell you what the rest are doing 16 years later.

And so that’s not what I wonder when I look at that photo. I wonder about me. I wonder if, in sixteen years from now, I’ll still be surrounded by the same people as I am now. Childhood friendships are much more fickle than adult ones, so I’d imagine the turnover decreases as you get older, but if I allow myself to reminisce on other people who have been in my life and are not anymore, I wonder how fickle it is now.

Clearly, at that time, those were the 11 most important people to me, else I would not have invited them to my birthday party! That’s like a big deal when you’re 11. If I threw a birthday party tomorrow, who would come? No one, probably, because 1) my birthday is in September and 2) we’re currently living through a global pandemic and it’s basically illegal to leave your house, but you get the idea.

And of those people, who will still be around in 16 years? Aaron, probably. What a guy. Okay, now I’m just milking it.

I dunno. I dunno where I was trying to get with with this rambly, nostalgic post. I think there was a point in there, somewhere, but it maybe got lost a bit.

Until tomorrow, I just don’t know where I’m going, or who I’m going there with.


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