I have noticed an interesting phenomenon recently. It seems that my past (the entire thing from grade school to college to those years between then and now) has been catching up with me. This is something that, at first, made me nervous. I found myself holding my breath, closing my eyes, then slowly peeking out of a little squinty slit at the email in my inbox. I don’t know what it was that worried me. I honestly can’t quite pinpoint it…unless, it was just the idea that I might somehow be exposed. Exposed as what – or for what – I really wasn’t sure. I’ve been pretty open about my formative dorky years. It wasn’t easy being among the nerdiest, but I think, I’ve managed to come out ok. Then there’s always the embarrassing – maybe compromising is a better word – college moments. All in all, though, I think I at least showed a modicum of restraint.
So what was it that I was so worried about? I’m thinking it can only be those relationships that have remained unresolved: the boy I had a crush on in high school, the boy everyone thought I had a crush on, the boy who I really wanted to be friends with but was afraid that everyone would think I had a crush on. Then in college & after, the relationships that were kinda of like dating, but not really. Then the actual dates. Then the people that just weren’t called back (that’s really just wrong, I know, but I was immature – truly. I didn’t think I was, but I was).
So what happens when ten or so years after college graduation, these people are magically brought back into my life? Something interesting: there are no flirtations, or worries over hidden passions, or overt innuendo. Most of us seem to have found the person we were meant to find, and are married, engaged, or fully aware and respectful of the marital status of those that are. Gone are the fears of “what other people might think”, and these people are just there, as I had always hoped they would be. I can safely ask how someone’s day is going, without that chorus of teenage whispers “She likes him. You see how she just smiled??” Or invite someone out to see my band without the “dude, she wants you”. I can now honestly say to some of these people “you know, I’ve always wanted to be your friend. I’m really glad to know you now.” I can watch the lives of “old fames” unfold and become wonderful; and side by side enjoy watching our children grow up knowing each other. The past seems to live where it does – in the past, where it matters little, but to serve as a point of reference, or as a well from which stories are drawn up and shared. It is truly a remarkable and wonderful place to be. We are young enough to enjoy the company of one another, and share in a lifetime of joys and sorrows; and old enough to be secure in our relationships so that this can be possible.
There are still a few chapters, though, that have been left open. Good friends who I have let drift away for one reason or another- and one in particular, who I hope to reconnect with soon. It is such a shame when intent is misunderstood by those around us. Years are lost. There are so many years ahead, though, and I look forward to each of them.