I'm been making some summer plans and one of them is to get together with a girlfriend. Whom I've never met. After hmmm..... 7 or 8 years I guess. wait, what?
Having online friends has always been a part of my adult life. It has totally shaped my life in ways one could never imagine. It's not weird for me, never has been, and kind of throws me when it's not "normal" for other people. Actually, nowadays, more and more people are using the internet to connect with other people. But it's still not the norm for some.
I think I was the first in my social circles to be online "talking" to other people. It started when I got a laptop for work. I was at home messing around and stumbled into yahoo chat. cue swooning love songs. I was hooked. It was so fun. It rocked my not-having-so-much-fun-in-real-life-post-college world. I was having my quarter life crisis. The timing was perfect. Eventually it opened up an entirely new world for me: namely Indiana. But that is a gigantic post in and of itself....
Then I met BigDaddy, moved to Ohio (from Indiana), got engaged and had to plan every.living.detail.of.my.life. or at least the first day of "the rest of my life." I found a local board for planning a wedding in San Diego when I was living in Ohio. VERY helpful. And I connected with other women like me. around my age, doing what I was doing, and talking about it. Done. I was a total goner. Then we all "moved" to the big, national "Ultimate" wedding planning board and things really got moving. We had online journals and posted pictures. Agonized over which font to use on our invitations and what color ribbon we should use on our favors or if we should give favors out at all. And became friends, good friends. And then we met their BFFs, and bridesmaids, and sisters. And they became our friends too. And then we got married, or didn't for one reason or another (and offered a cyber shoulder to cry on or a real life phone call or real life card/gift.) And then bitched/raved about every aspect of the first day of "the rest of our life." But at that time we called them Vendor Reports. :) side note: you REALLY don't want to give crappy service to a bride on a popular wedding chat board.
The websites expanded, we now had San Diego Newlyweds because we were done with the wedding planning and one of the users created a new home for everyone. Hooray! I haven't been active there in ages, but just now popped back on and recognized a bunch of names. I'm celebrating 6 years this May. We also found the home life and baby planning sites adjacent to the Ultimate Wedding Board. I got preggo right away and then found I have to plan every.living.detail.of.my.life.
TinDC was one of my first calls after BigBoy was born. She was my official journal representative appointed to post an update in my journal and let everyone know the vital stats. We had talked on the phone a few times before that, nothing major, but chatted. I hooked up with Plaidfrogg and RachinCali during trips back home to California, but didn't get to see WordPrincess. MrsS* opened the world of OZ to me (and very cool Moulin Rouge necklaces.) SassyJen (my sassysista) sent me some of her baby boy stuff after BigBoy was born. I met her via her BFF and my wedding twin SkyyCO4, whom I've managed to zig zag with in moves across the country but we never seem to actually cross paths. Someday! The point is, these were real women. Women I really liked and connected with. Women who were (and still are) my friends. Women who actually knew more about me than my family and friends IRL (In Real Life for you non-computer geeky people.) They oohed and aahed for me. Told me I wasn't crazy for my pity parties. Knew every detail of my emotional and family baggage. And at one point every baby girl's name I was thinking of.
Even though I am not as involved in every one's life as I once was (we all have the life juggle of work/home/kids) I still keep in touch with most of them and love knowing what they are up to. We all shared a very special time together. Oh, and now I know all their real names, I have to since now they're my Facebook Friends. :)
* Kerrie's name wasn't MrsS, but neither one of us can remember it. What can I say? We have kids and thus mommybrains now. :)