Where Did Those 30 Years Go?
A centerpiece of my growing up experience, his reason was: “I just don’t feel like I’ve grown over the past 10 years since our 20th.” I almost laughed but didn’t, knowing how often I have felt the same way in my adult life. I didn’t push him but reminded him that there is hardly one of us who feels that he or she has “made their mark” yet and that we never know when our presence will make a difference in someone else’s life.
I’ve gone to every reunion since we started having them. It’s a strange thing to do, introvert that I am, but for the same reason I used to go to the dances on Friday nights and sit up in a dark corner of the bleachers all alone, I’m afraid I’ll miss something if I’m not there.
But lots of people don’t go to their reunions, usually citing high school as the most miserable time of their life. I can relate. Though I had something to center my experiences around, a safe place, I realize that in my own misery, I didn’t notice much of what was going on around me, the things that made others’ days unbearable. All I know was that my own struggles made me pretty unpleasant to be around sometimes.
So I go to the reunions to atone for how I might have inadvertently hurt others, though when I tell them about the incidents I recall, they graciously act like they don’t remember. But I do, and those memories weigh me down. Having the opportunity to let them know that I was aware of them then does something to heal me, and them too, I hope.
If these 30 years have taught me anything, it’s that change is constant, people die without our noticing, and we will always have more growing to do no matter how many reunions we live to see.
I hope my friend will change his mind and join us at the last minute to engage in meaningless reminiscences and small talk, and maybe a few healing conversations. I know his presence would have great meaning for me….