Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Sure, you can go home again. But will you want to leave?

There is a sweet part of our youth that we hold onto.
The first kiss.
A secret spot in the woods that no one knows about.
A success that is a stepping stone for your future.

 There are things in our past we wish we could forget forever.
 That hurtful exchange.
 Driving after too many beers.
 Oversleeping the day of the big test.
 The feeling of heartbreak or disappointment.

And then, there are the regrets for things you wish you'd done.
Studied harder.
Chased that boy.
Told that girl exactly how cool you thought she was, or how cruel.
Thanked that teacher.
Helped more- in so many ways.
Sang in the chorus.
Gone to band camp.
Ran for President... well. maybe not that, but you know what I mean.

No one should ever have regrets, and maybe at such a young age they are more thoughts of "What if?" or "Why not?" than anything else, and as we age, we can look back on those moments, those choices and see them more clearly.

Thanks to class reunions and family members that stayed put, we are offered an opportunity to visit our past and hang out with people who knew us BACK THEN. We may be forced to face all the good, bad and ugly pieces of ourselves. And certainly, we tend to be our worst critics when on most days, we should be our best champions.

Sometimes, we might need some liquid courage, or at the very least, a short trek back through our yearbooks, looking at scrapbook pages and journals, to see how far we've come... or more appropriately, to simply do the "pre-meeting oh, so that's who that is re-con."

 I tried to stick to the whole plan but don't plan thing, for fear solid planning would ruin whatever Mr. Spontaneity might want to add to the occasion.  ( yes, he's a dude.)

Plan one was to attend the first evening's meet and greet. And that was where the planning ended.   (ASIDE: I did notice, that a bunch of people wore black at my thirty year reunion. Either it's the notion of slimming fabric color choice, or they liken this gathering to attending a funeral.)

That's me on the right, in the front row in white with the beer, trying to figure out what I snagged my heel on before I fall off the lap of a girl who's on another lap. Sigh... so, highschoolish, aren't we?

 I lived in my hometown for at least fifteen years, but I still was glad for the GPS built into my phone, as the memory isn't what it used to be— as proved by the "remember when/this/that/those/them.." posts about our small village that appeared on a group posting this past week—a village my husband calls "Leave it to Beaverville, " which makes me wonder if there really is a place called Beaverville somewhere, and if there is, is there a Hooters in the center of that town, and if so, on Wednesdays, do people...
All right. I digress.

And I bend backward... sort of like some other people at 2am, after too many vodka tonics, who try to defy gravity while forming a right angle with their body, leading with the hips, then say, "Lin, my back really hurts!" These same people will hear the words, "Oh, there she goes. I knew that was coming," and then wake up with strange bruises.

I had my own share of skinned elbows and scrapes, apparently acquired a strange scratch on the rental car and returned home with a scuffed and damaged shoe that I had to drop at the cobbler's.

But that's not important. What is important is that we ate hummus. We told stories. We visited the old diner. We said hello to people we had not seen in a long, long time and we remembered the best and the funniest parts of high school. We paid for events we didn't attend and we might have missed some old friends that were in the shadows .. or the other end of the bar. We wore mustaches, but we don't need no steenkin' badges.

We drank weird shots and lots of wine.  We played cards and old record albums and watched it rain. We wore moustaches.

We swam in a lake.

We spilled - wine and secrets and we shared a moment that was better than all of high school combined.

And to the stranger at the first bar who thanked me for talking to him? No. Thank you, for that story.

 Something I thought about on the airplane ride home, where I slept the whole way- and probably drooled on myself, much to the chagrin of my seat mate.

But, unlike the high school me, I've finally figured out that I will never see you again, and your opinion won't change who I am or tarnish the smile I choose to wear today.
Thanks for reminding me I grew up just fine.

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