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A Connected Disconnection

I live in a connected world.

In my personal world, I’m addicted to Facebook. I love seeing the pictures of my friends’ kids growing up, hearing what they did on the weekend, and conversing with them back and forth. Everyone whom I’ve ever had contact with personally knows how to find me and reach me via email. If they’ve spent two minutes with me, they also know that email or text is the way to get me fastest.

In my career world, social media is our lifeline. Army Wife Network exists simply because of social media—way back when we were a radio show with a message board. Since 2009, when we were founded as a “network,” social media has been our main mode of connecting. That means I spend my work time online, too—Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. It’s where our network of fans connect. It’s where we find and communicate with our resources and advertisers. It’s where our team connects. It’s how we do business.

BLUF: There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t talk to someone.

I realized this during our latest PCS (Permanent Change of Station) that I wrote about in my last post. We’ve entered a new normal. The day we went down to close the house should have been a very exciting and wonderful day—and it was—but it was also very anxious. I wasn’t the only one feeling it; my daughter immediately came to me and asked, “Why isn’t anyone out here playing? I need to make some friends.” As I sat out on the front porch, staring into the street full of new houses, I felt “lonely.”

I posted the following on Facebook:

“Watching the sun come up out the window of the new house. I feel out of place. Lonely. Anxious. I know just like every other time we’ve moved, we will build a life, make new friends, an establish a battle rhythm, but it doesn’t make it any easier. Change has always been hard for me even though I embrace it.”

I posted that as my personal Facebook status. After all, it was my connection to the outside world. It wasn’t too long (minutes actually) that it started getting responses. Things like “You are not alone” and “Let the adventure begin.”

I immediately felt comforted.

I realized, for the first time in my life, how connectedly (yes, this is a new word) disconnected I was. Five years ago, when we moved to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, I did not even have a Facebook account. The moves prior to that obviously didn’t either. I didn’t have a way to reach out and tell someone how I was feeling. I didn’t have a way to connect with others in the area and virtually get my “feet wet” while learning about my new surroundings. I couldn’t Google the closest Target or MapQuest a place for lunch.

I’ll still need to challenge myself to meet new local friends (trust me, I’m feeling the stress of doing that in a civilian community where I don’t know the ropes as well as my comfort zone of the military), but I am never truly alone.

Realizing what I had, this tool of connection, made me stop, smile, and appreciate.

Those friends that I’ve made along the way may not be there every day. They weren’t physically standing beside me. I realize I don’t have them to physically talk to. But, what I do have is a virtual support system right there in the palm of my hand.

It’s not a 100% solution, but I think a connected disconnect beats disconnection any day.

What have you used lately to connect you to your “real” world? A new app? A social media tool? Tell me about it.

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Supporting Our Military Children

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