Monday, September 22, 2008

Reunions

In recent weeks, through the means of Facebook, I've been able to catch up with a lot of old friends from high school, electronically, telephonically, and physically (the last not being in the biblical sense, thank you). It's been almost 20 years since I've seen these people, heard from these people, or caught up with their lives. I, being the eternal bachelor, was admittedly a bit bummed from seeing the pictures of classmates' families, spouses, and the like. Perhaps it's simply a case of "life envy" and rather unfounded, as we all choose are own paths in this little journey, but then again, the grass is always greener. Reunions invariably conjure up a sense of self-examination; comparison to others who, many years ago in high school, were at the same starting gate, with the same opportunities and future. For the most part, the process of being back in touch with high school classmates has been great. A few of us have already met up to rehash old times, revisit old memories, and see how everyone looks.

The same people I occasionally envied for their establishing families have also occasionally been ones to send me messages complaining how burned out they are from shuttling kids around to various activities. While these apparent renditions of domestic bliss might be compelling, there is always another side to having a family, and it envelops 90% of one's time. I have yet to do the family thing, and sometimes, in the face of my advancing age, I regret it. A lot of my fellow classmates trumpet pictures of their kids, and that merely shows the good, not the uglier moments when kids are puking all over, getting suspended from school, or wrecking the car. To that end, I console myself by realizing that having kids and a family is tiring but rewarding, and that the facade presented on Facebook might be just that - a facade. It's been very strange to be out of touch with people for 20 years, then to pick up and talk again, after so many years of change. Many of these people have sons and daughters in high school, which is still mind-blowing to me. One old friend is even poised to be a grandmother. Comprehending all this, having known such people when they were kids themselves, is at best, a challenge. On a positive note, I've realized that most of those classmates never moved out of the metropolitan area, and as statistics dictate, a vast majority of people live their entire lives within 50 miles of their birthplaces.

Many times, pundits have said how people don't change. I find that to be very inaccurate. Most of the people I've reconnected with are of a different mindset than from the days of high school. The years after high school are most likely to define one's character, goals, and philosophy. High school is merely a starting point, not a defining point. I've seen so many classmates change radically after 20 years, and why should I be surprised? It's been 20 years of the most volatile times in an adult's life. Many of the close friends of mine from those days are now completely different people, in appearance, ideals, and status. Some have risen to greatness, some haven't. Personally, these reunion moments have been enlightening and depressing in the same moment. It's a time for wishing I did more over 20 years, but also a time for renewing old friendships that should have never ended in the first place. Everyone has changed; time and life experience does that to everyone, but revisiting the days of youth, even for a moment, can be invigorating itself. Never be afraid to reach out and find that old friend. It's rewarding in the end.

A few final notes. I still hate the Vonage commercials, but they've finally tapered off, and there's even a new one floating around which is far less irritating and obsessive. Secondly, this is my 99th post! Next one is the biggie! I've been working on it at times, and all I can say is that it will have some highlights from my better postings, and basically celebrate the achievement. I'm hoping to get that done in a couple weeks (or less). Thirdly, congratulations to the Cubs! Very happy they are playing well again. See you at number 100! Maybe I'll rope in some special guests!

2 comments:

Jersey said...

I think DeRo is the Cubbies' good luck charm.

The Histrionics of a Fat Housewife said...

The grass will always be greener regardless of which path you take. It's life.

Those of us who've chosen to procreate have given up so much of ourselves that there is little left but wrinkles and flesh. The kids zapped it all out of me, at least. Where once was a fun, drunk, busty blonde now sits a worn out mom with saggy boobs and a flabby belly. The only thing I get in the trade is candy covered kisses, the occasional cute picture I can post on FB, and the promise that I'll never be lonely while in the john. Lucky me.

Seriously, though, life is a trade off. And for me, it's the bad times, the really, really tough times that stick with me most. I posted a slideshow on my blog of the last 18 yrs of my relationship with Mike. To most, it probably seemed just a touching, happy thing. But I posted pictures on it that would remind both of us of some really tough, hard times in our relationship.

One of my favorite lines is from a Goo Goo Dolls song (Iris): You bleed just to know you're alive.

Anyone who tries to tell you that their life is all peaches and cream fails to bleed. And I feel sorry for them.

I agree that reunions seem to be a time to reflect on your life choices and see how the size up to others. As Stephie said, none of us have wound up in prison. Success it seems. Great success!