I thought I knew what to expect earlier this month when I attended my high school reunion.
It had been planned as a series of day-long events — meet at the alumni house for a pre-lunch drop-in, swing over to our old fast-food hangout for lunch, piddle the afternoon in whatever pursuits your mood dictates, and then meet at a nice restaurant for dinner that evening. I was looking forward to catching up with old friends, sharing a few of my own what-are-you-up-to-now stories, and laughing nostalgically about the good ol’ days. Maybe even squeeze in a bit of tender reminiscing.
Knowing my philosophical tendencies, I’d prepared myself for what I thought would be inevitable — an involuntary brain-vacation in the midst of it all, a sort of pensive out-of-body experience in which I’d examine my past, my present, my future. I’d question the choices I’ve made….mull the big-picture life directions to which I’m now committed, like it or not….compare my moderately irregular life to that of my childhood friends….reassess the outcomes which my future seems to hold. Angst would surely be involved, but, I reasoned, perhaps I’d earn some sort of enlightened insight. Yay!
But it didn’t happen. I even waited for weeks to finish this blog entry, on the chance I’d have some sort of delayed reaction. But still, nothing.
Was I expecting introspection because books and movies so often make reunions a catalyst for internal strife? Probably. But do books and movies make reunions a catalyst for internal strife because it so frequently happens in real life? Probably. So why not me?
Maybe I’m simply satisfied with my life. End of story. That’d be pretty freakin’ awesome, wouldn’t it? BUT what if I’m repressing my dissatisfaction so deeply that I can no longer find it? That’d be sad. But…..maybe not — I mean, really, what would be the difference between deep, effective repression and having nothing to repress? Wouldn’t the end result be the same? My brain is bouncing with the yin and yang of it.
Oh well. When my psyche needs some introspection, I’ll trust the universe to whack me with a sign. You can’t force that sort of thing.
You know what did happen, though? I had an attack of ADD in the middle of the evening’s dinner. All of a sudden, I was done — and I mean DONE — with chitchat. I was drawn toward the intricacy of the restaurant’s high ceilings….toward the pretty candle flames….toward the softly lit bue-and-yellow-balloons….toward the miscellaneous table decorations….anything and everything that was non-human. Geesh, why does that happen to me? Maybe I should go into training for social events like runners train for a marathon. I need to develop an ability to push through the edgy intolerance and continue to focus, to enjoy the fun around me.
Before that, though, I did have a GREAT time! We shared a ton of old memories and laughed a lot. I really enjoyed hearing how everyone’s lives have turned out. And I was elated that there seemed to be so much joy and success among us all. There were a few people with whom I would’ve loved to talk more, but for some reason it seemed appropriate to keep the conversation light and superficial, and to spread my time equally among everyone. The last time we got together as a group, it was in 1988 during our 8th-year reunion. This time it was our 27th. I hope we do it more frequently from now on.