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Where Are My Friends?

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

I scroll over my Friends’ pictures on my Spark page and so many are not there anymore. Still other's pictures are “active” meaning their information still comes up, but it has been many, many days and in some cases even years since they’ve updated their status. This makes me so sad. Friends who were once so vibrant and enthusiastic in their quest for good health seem to have just vanished. I’m sure the reasons are as varied as the lives of all of us. I can’t answer my question for my Friends on my Spark page, but I need to answer it for myself.

Where Am I?
I’ve been a member of Spark People since August of 2008. I have missed very few days of logging in and the ones I missed were due to no Internet connection. I was very active on my teams and met several wonderful people on SP who got to be such good friends we even met up in person. Those were such wonderful days of friendship and camaraderie. We were all like-minded in our quest for health and weight loss. We genuinely cared about each other’s lives, not just in the area of physical health but mental and emotional health as well. So what happened?

Life got really busy. I was teaching full time. I had a fifty-minute commute one way to school, so almost two hours of my day was spent driving. Add to that all the teacher duties that had to be done at home, time for family, and housework. As if that wasn’t enough, I went back to school online to finish my Bachelor’s Degree and took a full course load. Although I logged in to SP and kept my own nutrition and exercise log going (sporadically), I had to let something go and that something was my community. There’s no one to blame but myself. My reason was an understandable one and seemed necessary at the time. But at what cost?

I had lost thirty pounds that first year. The workload I had put on myself and the stress involved with it took its toll. I gained it all back and then some. I began to have health issues. I have not given up the fight, but the fight seems to have gotten harder. I keep checking on my friends to see where they are in their fight, but to no avail. I wonder what life happenings or crises have caused them to drop by the wayside of community importance?

Why was Community so important?
1. I was part of a team with a shared common goal.
2. I had to be accountable to someone other than myself.
3. I needed to be an encouragement to others.
4. I needed to receive encouragement from others.
5. I needed acceptance without judgment.

The Spark People community provided all of this. So why, now that the degree has long since been earned, since the job and the commute has now ended, since the work load at home has decreased significantly, am I still neglecting this vital element of Spark People? I have no excuse! I need to reach out to others and take the time to be an encourager and to be encouraged. I need to be accountable to my community. I’ve been quiet for so long that this may be a challenge for me. But Spark people are all about a good challenge, right?

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    We've been there. Every once in awhile I purge my list of friends here. There are those special ones that I refused to delete, hoping they would become active again. After so many years, it was sad to silently say good bye and let them go.' Like you, I've had times I was more active and times that weren't. There is so much support and encouragement here if we take the time.
    1314 days ago
  • GRACED777
    There is an ebb and flow, I think, sometimes for many reasons. It takes me a lot of time to be really present here and there are seasons when the outside world beckons, as you said. Sometimes I'm not doing as well as I think I should, and sometimes I just want to lurk and be quiet. That's why I have a certain level of engagement and no more. I don't like disappointing people, online or off, and if I'm too dependable, people count on me too much. I am so thankful for what I receive here and I try to share it wherever I go, and that's the best I can do. In fact, I think it's the best any of us can do!
    1333 days ago
    Two of my closest sister/friends here in "Sparkville" went off to heaven (totally unexpectantly) & not having them here has the journey seeming not quite so wonderful. Others have left for whatever reason or are just not as active as they were at first = I do not know the reasons for most of this turn-of-event. I am thankful for those who show up occasionally & allow that special touching-of-lives that made visiting "Sparkville" so special in the beginning.

    If you care to enlighten me, I wonder how you were teaching without your degree?

    God bless!

    1344 days ago
    What an excellent blog!! I felt the same way right before I disappeared. Ha!Ha! I would love to have that connection again.
    1345 days ago

    Comment edited on: 6/27/2017 8:52:08 AM
    One friend is here!

    Community and SP friendships seem to ebb and flow, like other things in life. I think it's natural.

    I know what you mean about the sadness of seeing dead pages and pages with no activity.

    Glad you are back.
    1350 days ago
    Great blog. Sometimes life does get in the way. I recently had knee replacement surgery and I literally had to MAKE myself log in each day for a couple of weeks. I was pretty miserable and didn't want to share that misery with anyone else so I stopped responding to most blogs, but I didn't want to loose the connection completely.

    This has been a great place for me to share my life and enjoy my friends. Never being much of a social media person I have found this site refreshingly honest and supportive!
    1352 days ago
    This is a wonderful blog. It's easier for me because I'm retired which is why I always salute the younger sparkers who can work toward a healthy lifestyle, participate in community and still work, go to school, take care of a family etc.

    In May 2016 I decided to see where had all my old friends gone. It took me over a month looking at 15 -20 pages a day. The reasons for leaving were varied, but 60% were still actively sparking.
    I thought that was pretty good.
    Some had left and returned and were glad to find an old friend who hadn't deleted them and that they could reconnect with.

    Eventually I will have to delete the pages that have "gone dark" but not just yet.
    1355 days ago
  • 52BINCE
    What a nice blog .... Sparks has offered it all .... so many resources and tools, etc.
    It is a shame when one leaves, and when we got connected it is a sad day.

    1356 days ago
    I love your blog and for me started 2009 but not committed and did not fully understand how SP worked and how it would help me. I have been committed since June 26, 2016 and I love the support and encouragement from the team I have joined. I have been sparking for a whole year. emoticon emoticon
    1357 days ago
  • BLUEJAY1969
    I became a "ghost" Sparker for about a year when I fell into a depression and I know exactly what your'e talking about. I started in again and have made more friends and I stay a part of the community whether I'm losing or not.... usually not until here recently...... and it really helps to have the encouragement of that community. My friends and the community on here are my lifeline in the healthy living department! Great blog by the way!
    1357 days ago
    Love this blog! I also have friends that have disappeared and I have also disappeared a few times. It's the community I'm involved in now that keeps me here. They are really becoming my friends and my motivation.
    1357 days ago
    I once wrote about this too that sadly, some of my most enjoyable friends that I really connected with either did say goodbye for various reasons, or just plain vanished. .......I really did miss them, and still do.
    It is such a wonderful place as you said. Sometimes I think it is feast or famine. I can get so carried away with sometimes spending too much time on the computer and needing a dose of reality .....always do something daily, but I know that life throws a lot of curve balls to many and it is hard .........I think for many who get into the routine of logging on and sparking a little, what their own time allows ... is a good thing.
    Well I am here for you! ..... Keep your spark! we need lots of flames!
    1357 days ago
  • no profile photo CD17528039

    I so agree with you.As someone who has come and gone from Spark many times, I think there's also a shame element. You hang around, you make friends, the community is great but you just don't do what you
    must be drop the weight, and then you wonder if you should really be here.

    The truth is, it's in that moment that the answer truly is "YES", you should, but disappointment and defeat usually win out.
    1357 days ago
    You are right about community being important. I have noticed several of my friends are no longer active and have made an effort to reconnect.
    1358 days ago
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