In the past few years since I started working, I noticed that I have not been as crazy with keeping in touch with friends and loved ones as I used to be. So much so, in fact, that cellphone credits that used to last me just a week can easily last almost a month at my current rate of usage.

Some would blame my ungodly work schedule as a reason for it, and I concur at least partly with this. After all, when you spend a long night at the office doing humdrum work and interacting with all kinds of people over the phone and email, the first thing you would want to do at the end of your shift is to simply go home and recover your energy for the coming day.

But the reasons go beyond being swallowed up by the daily grind of the office-home-office-home routine, I discovered one day.

Here I am at my station in 2006, taking in calls as usual.

By some incomprehensible force, I have started to take an increasingly isolated view of the world around me. In the course of dealing with the various issues that have come my way, I have seen how the world I knew has changed, affecting everyone I’ve known along with it. Practically so many of my friends and peers have gone on to new levels in life, such as getting married and raising a family, or working abroad supporting their loved ones, or even getting their degree after years of toil in the collegiate ranks. What I knew, in short, has faded away and gone.

For me, this has made them a little harder to reach, a somewhat less ready source of solace when I seek my font of strength to deal with the world’s peculiarities and quirks.

No, I do not fault them in their decisions or chosen directions. They have lives to live, it is given. The reality exists that as we grow and mature, our needs and wants change to a certain amount, which may mean, for example, that someone who hung out with you at all hours in high school may have a different crowd to chill with in his college life. My main solace lies in knowing that if they are doing well, I was glad to have been part of their voyage to self-discovery and growth, whatever amount that may have been.

This has sprouted in me a more isolationist view of the world and how I must deal with it. It has caused me to lean on an even more tight-knit cast of people, which have included my siblings and a few very close external contacts. It has spurred a more independent flame to life, one that recognizes change as the only constant in a world facing continual flux. I feel a sense of having to stand alone a lot more, especially when the situation calls for me to prove my worth in dramatic fashion within a short time.

While some have indeed changed and have become almost invisible to my radar altogether, there are those who choose to stay in touch and keep themselves within reach via the Web 2.0 era. Thanks to them, the world may not be in as severe a flux as I had thought.

Aside from my mobile phone, there are instant messaging sites and programs, social networking sites and even humble email to keep all distances manageable. The proof of this power was never more evident that when Typhoon Ondoy (international name Ketsana) slammed into Luzon last weekend. When landphones and powerlines went down, the net-savvy Pinoy took to his computer and relayed information through the Web, potentially saving thousands of lives in the process.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won re-election in 2009, amidst much controversy at home and abroad.

Then there was the aftermath of the controversial presidential elections in Iran earlier in the year. While the government imposed a media blackout over rising tensions due to allegedly fraudulent electoral results, the enterprising Iranian took to his computer and relayed the news to their colleagues around the world. Some who had video and picture-capturing capabilities on their cellphones took images and recordings of the government crackdown on protesters, revealing to millions on a global scale the harshness of the ruling administration.

Guess I am not such an isolationist after all. With the Web 2.0 era in full swing, I probably just haven’t tried all the means yet.