Tuesday, July 21, 2009

After the fact

The weekend away was a lot of fun, though hot & sweaty. I got to schlep air conditioners around for my folks, but in the process got to install 2 bonus units. So we got to sleep well. But from the time I got home from work (in a high-speed run from Cambridge on Friday afternoon) to the time we finally arrived home late Sunday it was non-stop action - even if the action consisted of all recreation punctuated with driving.

The purpose of this trip brings me to one of my occasional personal essays (well, I'm not going to say anything that's not already public record to virtually anyone who knows me in the slightest, but it still feels personal):

I had a follow-up thought on my reunion post from the 15th now that it's actually happened. Kind of an anticlimax as it turned out. For me, once I got there I really felt like I had no reason to be there anymore. A few of my old friends were there - it was really nice to chat with a couple of them (Sue, if you're reading this, sincere congrats on what you've accomplished) but kind of superfluous. If I was on Facebook like half the universe (including my wife) I could have been in contact with the ones that were worth it.

What really struck me was that after the initial surprise that I was recognized by folks (let's just say that besides the LASIK there's a few differences between me then and me now - short grey hair and about 90 extra pounds among them) I really didn't have much desire to engage with them. I'm not a big reminiscer when it comes to talking (I don't mind doing it in writing because it's easier), and outside of a couple of high school pranks I played with help that I believe the Statute of Limitations has long since rendered safe there's not much from high school I really love talking about.

For me, high school was mainly notable as the thing I did to get to college and the place where I started to learn how to socialize with my actual peers (as opposed to just the folks I thought were peers but weren't). I did my 3 years, got out, and haven't looked back too much. Over the last 25 years it turns out there's only a handful of them I actively think about and care about. Even the core of friends I saw at my 10-year reunion have moved on for the most part.

25 years ago I was a tall, skinny, socially maladjusted geek wannabe with an budding interest in electronics, an obsessive interest in the tech aspects of sports (I loved cycling because I could fix my bike myself), and a knack for theater. 15 years ago I was beginning a career in tech management, three years into a marriage and the new owner of a house. Today I'm a real adult, with a child and a business, and I really don't know the other two people in this paragraph that well anymore.

So it wasn't a huge surprise to me that when dinner was served I just grabbed a table that nobody else was at, sat down with my wife, ate, and soon after took off for the evening. No Sherwood Diner in the wee hours for me this time around. I think we stayed about 2 hours total.

What I realized right around dinner (when I stopped chatting with folks and shut down my personality for the evening) was this: Of all the people at the reunion, the one I most wanted to socialize with and spend my time hanging out with was the one I brought with me. So I did! Thus endeth my nostalgia kick - probably for the remainder of my life. And there's the closure I spoke of on the 15th.

I'll talk about more interesting stuff next time out. If you glazed over the last few paragraphs, here's the bullet points as a summary:

• The reunion was a letdown.
• Because I've changed more than I thought I had.
• I'd rather spend time with my current friends and my family.
• Particularly my wife.
• Living in the moment beats living in the past.
• A few of my classmates have put together cool lives, though.

And with this post completed I'm now one away from tying my monthly high for this year. Not impressive. I'm really using Twitter a lot more lately.
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