I went to my 44th High School Class Reunion last evening. Lots of thoughts have gone thru my head since the reunion was set up, and while I was there. I believe i could write for hours about these thoughts, if I am not interrupted by such things as having to eat something, having to use the restroom, or any of the millions of other things that are part of our everyday lives. sometimes when I get interrupted, I totally lose my train of thought. But I shall try to get some of these thoughts down, and hopefully, some of you will want to share them with me.
The main thing I noticed about actually being at he reunion, is that we are all a lot older that we once were. I think I attended our 25 year reunion and now its almost 20 years past that. As one of our mates mentioned, their class lost only 4 in their class in the first 40 years, but 8 more in the last five. That said a lot to me. We never know how much time any of us have left…especially as we get older.
When I first found our ‘Class of 70’ site on Facebook, there was talk about a reunion, and someone said we would be planning one for our 50th. In my mind, that is a long time away. A LOT could happen in that time….again…especially because we are older now. Teasingly, I reminded that I am old now, and that I might not make it that long and so may never get to see my classmates again. I mean, I am not seriously ill or anything like that, and I do hope to live a good while longer…but who knows. I prodded for a reunion at 45 years at least, only a year and a half away at that time. The good news is that I made it…and so did all of those who attended, and all of those who did not attend. I did not hear of any of our classmates having passed away in that intervening time.
People talk of a ‘bucket list’ before they die. I’d like to do this or that, go skydiving, see the Great Wall of China, take a cruise, or maybe even simpler things, like see my grandkids graduate high school or anything much closer to our day to day lives. I first heard of a bucket list in relation to…dying. the movie with Nicholson and Freeman comes to mind. But I don’t want to think of it that way…so I have in my mind what I just call….a ‘To Do’ list. I’ve got a lot of things I’d like to do yet in my life…and most of it involves things I’ve more or less ‘put off’ because of all the demands of living the day to day life, getting married, having kids, and keeping a job to support the family and provide them with as a good as possible start in their own lives as I could.
I had plans when I started out of high school. Didn’t really understand what they were at the time, but I know I had them. Some of them worked out, some of them were changed by events. I like the old lines from the song, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” Yeah, that’s right. So here I am 44 years later, and my kids are raised, and out of the house and have jobs and…they are on with their own lives. The only thing left in my way of spending time on my To Do list…is my job. I am so anxious to be done with it…but…life it seems has other plans for me. I am stuck with it for at least the immediate future. Everything I do still has to be done in my spare time.
I talked to many other people at the reunion who were retired and enjoying their retirement. And everyday it seems someone else around me close to my age, retires. I am very jealous. But I do blame myself for the most part. Perhaps i just didn’t plan as well as they did. Or maybe, I think sometimes, that Life has just had other plans for me. Whatever the case may be, here I am, still working at a job that though I’ve done and done fairly well at for 30 plus years, I’m ready to be done with. The pain of it seems to outweigh the psychological benefits of it these days. And then there is simply my impatience…to get on with more of my To Do list. That’s what bothers me the most. So many things I still want to do…and my job keeps me from doing them. On the other hand though, if I quit my job, my finances might keep me from doing a lot of them as well. One of those things ‘damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.’
In the meantime, I try to do as many of the things on my To Do list as possible in my off work time. One of the things that trumps working on my To Do list is spending time with my family. But at the same time, spending time with my family is also very high on my To Do list, especially with the grandkids. Shall I work on some of the other aspects of my list, or shall I go to see my grandkids, or go to another type of family gathering. No question, family wins. It’s just that darn pesky job that continues to get in the way. That’s the one expendable thing in my life…if only I could find another way to pay for continuing my lifestyle…after my job.
You might think at this point that I am going off course from talking about my class reunion…but it all plays in to it. I just take a long time to get to my points sometimes. You might say I’m long-winded in my explanations. Yes, i am, because simplicity does not say it all. For instance, if were a witness in a legal trial, and they wanted a yes or no answer, I would find a hard time doing that. “Your honor,” I would have to say. “They said I should tell the whole truth, and a simple yes or no won’t do that. Almost everything is much more complex than a short answer.”
When I think about things, my mind seems to spin a whole lot of information thru whatever I am processing. And yes, we all know there are times when we offer a simple answer, a simple yes or no, when we understand that the answer does not do the situation justice. That is one reason why I like writing, and more importantly, writing on a blog like this, because I really don’t have to answer to anyone or anything…except of course nature’s calls and so on. Still, I have the control to go on trying to spell out exactly what I want to say and how I want to say it…without interruption.
I could go on for quite a while longer here, so if you want to leave now, I will understand. And you can always come back to it later…if you wish. You see, you still have control as well.
I guess another of the things one my list is to discover whenever I get a chance, what has happened to all the other parts of my life…the people and the places and the times that brought me to where I am today. I resisted Facebook for a long time, but finally my kids pushed me into it by giving me the Christmas gift of a lap top all to myself with Facebook and blog and other stuff, already set up on it. It still took a while, but eventually I got into it, and learned, among other things, that I could FIND OUT a lot of answers to whatever happened to some of those people, places and times. I found, I find, great pleasure in seeing, in the pictures of my classmates, and other old friends, exactly what they are up to these days. Many have stayed married to their high school sweethearts, they have kids and grandkids, and on and on and on. Sure, there is a lot of BS on the Facebook as well as on the rest of the internet in general…BUT…one does not have to buy into all of that. It may take a little sorting at times, but I think it’s worth it.
For those of you on Facebook, I have really enjoyed seeing those pictures of your families and your travels, and whatever the hell else you are doing in your lives, be it traveling the world or working on a craft project, or announcing the birth of your tenth grandchild, or the award your grandkid got for particitpation in a 6th grade art project. I am a curious sort, and it answers a lot of wondering I do. And maybe that’s what its all about for me Curiosity.
We all know that curiosity killed the cat. I’m no cat but I am curious. I talk to people who want to have nothing to do with class reunions or Facebook, or just other people in general for that matter. And I wonder…how could you not be at least curious. Some people feel that high school was a horrible place and they want to have nothing to do with it. hello, its just a microcosim of the world at large. No better no worse. Except that…the is something about coming of age together. experiences that we all shared one way or another that have some effect in shaping our lives whether we want to acknowledge them or not. High school was not the worst time of our lives and it was not the best time no matter who you are. there is so much more to life than high school…but again…it was part of the world that shaped who and what we are. Are we not curious to maybe just make some connection to that past that played such a big part in the person we have become? I am curious how we are today versus what we were in that other lifetime so long ago. Is there even still a connection?
I am happy to report that there IS. I enjoyed the hell out of visiting with people I knew well, or even not so well, so long ago. I feel connections to those I find on Facebook, and I feel connections to those I was able to speak to last night. And I’d like to reconnect, if only for a minute now and then with so many other people from my past. The kids I went to kindergarten with. Where are they now? I did not have the benefit of living only in one town for my whole life. And some may not think that a benefit at all. One person told me “I didn’t get too far from home.” To me that seemed like a wonderful thing to have always had that “home”, that one place to always know that whether you consider it a positive or not…its home. I like home. Fairfield and Geff was home tome for several years and I am always curious how that played in to who and what I am.
Man, he does go on. Ahh, but you would only know that if you’ve read this far. Not too much more today, I promise. But there is that train of thought and I have not yet reached the caboose.
You can’t have enough friends, old friends, new friends, high school friends, facebook friends, and so on. What is the little girl scout ditty I think. Something about meeting new friends and keeping the old, some are silver and the others gold. Something like that. There are friends that we are closer too, and friends we may never see except at such reunions. Same with families and family reunions. always there are people we are closer to than others. but that does not mean we need to throw away any of them. All of our friends and families and acquaintances are part of what has made us the way we are. To be curious about others is to be curious about ourselves. Stop being curious and it may well be the beginning of dying. I’m not ready to die. I hope I’ll always be curious.
I am even curious who I missed at the reunion last night. I am certain there were some there who I would have liked to talk to even for a minute….if only I knew who they were. I’m sure I’ll look at the pictures and see someone who I should have known, should have talked to…however I didn’t recognize them or something. We have all changed quite a bit you know. Without the name tags it would have been a jungle. I would have liked to spend a lazy day wandering around and taking time to talk to every single soul who was there in that time when we were in high school. Many times an old friend has brought up a event or incident…that I had not thought of since then. But when they mentioned it, yep, there it came from the bottom of my memory floating again to the surface. Yeh, I remember that. but I may never have remembered if they had not brought it to surface. Memories are good fun to think about, to share, not to live in, but to revisit now and then. I am curious…what the future holds for me…for all of us. And curious still of what brought us to this place in our lives. Working on my own To Do List…and hoping there will be another reunion someday to share a little bit more of our lives and our memories.
time to get on with the rest of my To Do List. thanks for reading. Send me a note some time.