I spent this past weekend traveling to my home state to attend my 20 year high school reunion. I really had no intention of going, but a couple of close friends convinced me to take the risk and go. So, I bought a ticket, and three months later I was walking through the door to the past.
My memories of my 10 year reunion gave me an unrealistic expectation of what ten more years would bring. I walked into a room of strange faces, and I slowly began to recognize the people with whom I spent four years of my life. These faces were the adult versions of the kids that seem immortalized in the senior yearbook. Yet, even with the gray hairs, the extra wrinkles and pounds, many of my peers still acted the same. They associated with the same friends, the same cliques, and portrayed the same social behavior… with one exception: they are well past the minimal age limit.
I am glad to say that I enjoyed my experience of revisiting a small epoch of time. I have realized that I am much happier with my current life circumstances. I am happy that I survived the awkward teenage years and moved forward with the dreams and ideals I sought to acquire. I am glad that I am no longer single, and I have an identity that is getting stronger each day.
I connected with the few friends that helped me get through those turbulent years. I even made a small effort to shake some hands of strangers who did not know me, yet they were my classmates. As I walked away that night and drove home the next day I felt a strange sense of sadness. My heart cried for the people that I never did get to know, yet my heart was glad for the comfort of friends who greeted me. I don’t know how many people there will be who will not attend the 25 or 30 year reunion. Every day that goes by seems to come faster, and no one knows what the unexpected future will bring.
I hope that my life will count for something in the lives of those who do know me, and for those who met me for the first time in 20 years. I want to make each day count for something good. I wish that every teenager today could have that same kind of passion for influencing others in a positive way. Every kid has the opportunity to make a difference in the life of another person. I wish I had been encouraged to reach out 20 years ago, but now I know better. Life is short, and time gets shorter as life passes by.
One thing I do know is this: take the time to reconnect with the people who made an impact on your life. Go visit them, give them a call, or write a letter. Just reconnect, no matter what.