You read that right.
I know. It’s strange. Particularly because when I was in high school I could not wait to get the hell out. I spent hundreds of hours daydreaming about moving away and starting my life fresh and the summer after graduation, I packed my luggage and with the few mementos I held dear and off I went.
I never looked back.
Yet, years later, here I was having the time of my life with the very people I couldn’t wait to escape and judging from the youthful squeals, tight embraces, and toothy smiles, everyone in the room was feeling the same way.
Thanks to Facebook the rough edges of the reunion-rite-of-passage were smoothed over before we got there. The social network provided a safe, casual forum for us to reacquaint and reveal so that by the day of the event internet familiarity quickly turned into genuine intimacy. Thirty years had knocked the wind out of the puffy chests and tugged away at the coats of armor, leaving behind a congenial and forthright group who, for at least one night, all drank happily from the same nostalgic kool-aid.
I liken the friendships made in high school to those made during summer camp, natural disasters, even war; all products of battle creating bonds perhaps easily forgotten but never broken. With only a few exceptions, I have rarely been in a room where I felt a deep connection to so many. I know this was, in part, an illusion. These people don’t really know me now, they didn’t really know me then, but they know where I’m from, they know how I began, and having lived 30 years and thousands of miles away, I realized that night, that counts for a lot.
It’s a curious feeling but in the week that followed my reunion, I felt more grounded. Rooted. Whole. Like missing pieces of an unfinished puzzle had finally slid into their rightful place. Corny, I know. But true. I also felt sad, regretting friendships and fun that could have been, time I wasted misunderstanding and being misunderstood.
But I have no regrets about going to my 30th. In fact, I highly recommend it. If nothing else, it can serve as emotional closure. It’s enlightening. It’s fun. It’s a chance to focus solely on you (the single you, the you sans obligation) which in my world, and I suppose many of yours, is a rare opportunity indeed.
I look forward to my 40th.