I looked in the mirror above my vanity. I patted my chin, ” I wonder if I could get rid of this flabby double chin before the class reunion?”
I decided I could not. Next, I checked out the color of my hair. Not bad, I thought, the partial coloring I had for an earlier speaking engagement was fading, but realistic. Like it or not, I was who I was, so I’d better be confident about it. Anyway, I felt pretty good about myself.
I had not been to a class reunion since our graduation in 1966, fifty years ago, except for one I don’t remember, eons ago. I just remember meeting in a building that probably has been torn down by now, and each former student telling what we did. That’s it, and we were gone. I had been dissatisfied, and left wondering what was missing that I had expected to find there.
So I am having those same thoughts now. What am I expecting at this present reunion? It is impossible to return to the past, because we are no longer the same people we once were. I’m not. I even changed my name many years ago, because I meant to become a new person. We may keep the same genetic print and early experiences, but we evolve into mature people shaped by responsibilities, challenges and tough decisions. However, we still have the memories of how we were then, brief moments when the memories are so familiar again. We can go back and meet our younger self. If we are the masters of our own destiny, how did we do? Joys, regrets? Did we find what we were looking for in life? A 50-year reunion can bring up a critical introspection in our minds.
That brings me to evaluations. Did the person who has a six-digit banking account find peace within? Did the family who fought financial difficulties to launch great children find the sacrifices worth the great joy in return? Success and inner contentedness isn’t always measured in material goods or achievements. Being in spiritual union with God, being of benefit to the world around us, being in intimate relationships with others, and being of good character are all priceless. And we can rejoice in the victories and achievement of others around us. Gratitude is contagious.
When we look past all the identity masks we wear, and all the accolades we present, and truly look at each other as valuable souls, each a precious part of humanity, can we accept each other as we are. Forgive we must where needed, for we need forgiveness ourselves.
Peter Roff of U.S. News writes, “Nothing is for certain. Good girls go bad. Bad boys do good. The football star goes to seed and the heavy girl becomes a runway model. The unhappy find peace and the restless settle. Hope is not a “thing with feathers” but seeing how your classmates have turned out, for good and for bad. You cannot escape the past and you cannot relive it. You can, however, enjoy it.”
We can’t go back, but the people in our class helped mold us into what we are today. We can reconnect and go forward in renewed relationships. Let’s not overlook anyone lest we miss some lovely surprises. We were the class of ’66.