I took a flight to Florida a few weeks ago to see my high school friends. Out of the 400 plus grads of Titusville High 1980, about 100 of us gathered to reminisce and comment on our current Facebook status eye to eye.
Here are a few things I observed:
- Nobody remembers everything (thank goodness), but we do remember moments. We remember how our lives were intertwined for seasons of math, English, marching band, tennis, softball, and chorus. Those memories link us together as we remember teachers from freshman to senior year and growing up from early teens to late teens. The memories become fonder as we catch glimpses of them in the rear view mirror.
- Some things never change. Everyone’s first stop after they write their names on tags in bold print is the group they were associated with in high school breezeways. That’s where the comfort level settles in and frees us to gravitate towards the other groups. Call them cliques or clubs – seeing this tendency takes us all right back to lockers and letter jackets and cheering from metal bleachers.
- The older we get, the more we resemble our parents. We walked in and out of each other’s houses throughout those high school years, sometimes to spend the night, sometimes to just raid the fridge. We remember the parents who fed us and checked on us and kept clean towels in the bathroom. Good or bad, we are now a mirrored reflection of our parents and we said it out loud to each other more often this time.
- No one has lived a charmed life. When we lingered a bit past the pleasantries, we told more stories of heartache and growth, loss and joy. And unlike the fifth year or the tenth year reunions, when we wanted to show brave faces and pictures of perfect children, it was comforting to know we weren’t alone in our struggles after all.
- Some of us are harboring deep wounds. There are smiles and some disguises, but I saw heartache in some of my classmate’s eyes. No matter how much you tried to numb the pain with cups of bravado, we could see and what we want to say to you is that we want to hold you up, not tear you down. We may not have the answers you need, but by this time in life, we have all known great pain. Lean in. We can tell you how we got through it and at least offer hope.
- Relationships – investing in them through the years – that’s what life is about. We grow in those relationships when we tell each other the truth. In five more years, there will be so much more to share and I hope we do it willingly and hold each other up. We made it through the high school physical and emotional roller coasters and those are ties that bind.
See you in five years, but until then I'll see you on Facebook.
(Photos stolen shamelessly from our uploads on Facebook during reunion weekend.)