It's been a few weeks now since I attended my 40th high school reunion.
It was a glorious form of time travel to see school friends I hadn't connected with since we were 38, or 23, even 18. To see they were the same as much as they were different. They were MORE the same. I didn't remember a lot about what we'd done or said together more than forty years ago. And most of my closest friends from back then weren't even there. But what drew me again and again, what touched me in a sweet place, what resonated so true and so clear, was the feel of these companion spirits of my youth. There was a comforting weight and warmth of having known them back when I was beginning to know me. Regardless of what miracles of exploration and discovery had shaped them in the years since we began exploring together, there was so much left of the eighteen year old, the child, the innocent, maybe simply the essential.
And there, with these friends, I began to voice my present transformation, for the first time. Because, with them I saw the broad outline of what all the small pieces of my life were indicating. A change is coming. Another in the long line of growth spurts, reorganizations, relearnings, recoveries, regroupings was coming. And I was afraid, and I was eager, optimistic and hopeless, determined and resolved, about what was coming. Mostly, just in the dark about it.
I use the word transformation hopefully. It's the optimism speaking. I have grand dreams for my remaining life - of writing, and travelling, about friendships, and further accomplishment in my work. I certainly have more dreams than years to make them real. But it's not getting through the list that I'm concerned about, it's being in the list.
So. I've played my sax more these last few years. And, miraculously, we have a sailboat.(Miraculous because I never, ever saw that one coming, and didn't know what enjoyment it would bring.) And Ponczka and I finally saw Paris, where we walked the days away. I even finished my novel finally. But, of course, there is more. So much more yet to try.
But, the best thing about visiting with my fellow time-travellers was getting fresh eyes. We spoke in decades, careers, births and deaths, Our words rubbed up against all those "what if'"s of forty years ago, all that speculation and eagerness that had been the nesting of our relationships. We'd been school kids, away from home, testing those early systems of self-defense and advancement, devising formulas for finding love, whatever that was or would prove to be.
And now, so many decades later, there was a sobriety and a clarity of eye in the place of that bold, speculative energy that only the inexperienced can have. And there's something so generous and acknowledging about catching up with so many others who've survived the same mistakes, the same loses, and who've come to the same simple appreciations, and ever simpler sources of joy.
It was so, so good seeing you all. The term "fellow travelers" has taken on richer meaning through the interactions and inspirations of that weekend. And thank you all for your help in teasing out insights into this transformation I'm slowly coming into. Much Love! And may you all Thrive! Until we meet again.