Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Holding Back The Years

        It’s been said that you can’t go home again- that attempts to relive youthful memories always fail because time changes everything.  I used to think that too, but I was wrong.  Last weekend I returned home for my high school reunion, having missed every single one since graduation.  It was never intentional – life just got in the way.  A lot of years have slipped by and time has eroded memories, and I’m guilty of letting too many miles pass between hello’s, phone calls, texts, and emails, especially to many people who mattered 30+ years ago. 
In an instant the years fell away. 
For two days it was all about seeing old friends and missing those who couldn’t be there, catching up on the paths each of us had taken, sharing memories, and laughing about stories I’d forgotten (especially the ones that were horribly embarrassing).  As my friend Butch put it, we stopped being jocks, nerds, rah-rahs, and beauty queens and kings – instead we were just a group of old friends getting together again after too much time apart.  People say that you shouldn’t live your life looking in the rear view mirror and I’ve always believed that all that matters in life is what’s ahead.  But something has always pulled me back to high school, the friendships that were made there a long time ago, and the memories that still endure years later. 
I believe the friendships you make early in life are the ones you hold close – the same ones that can bring you home again.
            Those four years were a bittersweet period that few of us truly appreciated back then – a time of transition and change you could never wrap your hands around.  There were tears, fears, laughter, worries, heartache, and heartbreak twisted around classes, homework, and tests about subjects most of us had already forgotten by graduation.  Crushes, phone calls, and late night conversations with girls who saw you as a “friend” when you wanted desperately to be something more than that.  Football keg parties on Saturday nights, long classes spent watching the minutes fall slowly off the clock, and too many stupid, immature things that were said and done – the kind of things that still make you cringe years later (while hoping that God has a sense of humor about stuff like that).  Some of us even grew up a little.  Or grew up a lot.  You learned to love and you learned about hurt, and many of us forged relationships that remain strong years later.
            Over the past few months as the reunion took shape and many of us reconnected again, I loved how easily we all slipped back into comfortable grooves.  You spend so much time trying to get out of high school that you miss what you have beyond the classrooms and how special each friendship can be.  When we graduated we talked about the future as well as where we were going and how we would change the world, but last weekend it was nice to be reminded of where we started.  Age, or maybe maturity, has a way of making things clearer – at least the things that are still meaningful.
            When I drove home, I felt a familiar hurt – I wasn’t sure if it was nostalgia kicking my ass or the kind of sadness that comes from genuine, heartfelt good byes. 
Or maybe it was the realization that no matter how far you go or what you try to do, you can’t do any of it if you don’t remember where you came from.  And that no matter where you’re going, it’s the friends you have who make it all worthwhile.


  1. Life is like the Earth itself...many winding roads, but they all intersect at some point and place. It's always poignant at the crossroads of Then and Now. You've let go of the past to a point, yet hold on tight to the memories that build your very foundations. Along the way, some of the very building blocks we cherished, those we loved and remember with great feeling have left us. We are also afraid that if we continue on, we may lose more of those building blocks, that if we look away just for a second, they won't be there when we come to the next crossroad. 'Now that we found them again, we don't want to lose them.' They ARE our past, our foundation, they are our present, we want to make sure they are part of our future. Life is funny, no guarantees, no warrantees.....sigh.

    Hugs my friend....I totally know the feeling!!


  2. Wow Kevin so well said. Just goes to say even with all the years between then and now we all have the experience of being the same age and experiencing the times of 1976 and before (many of us from grade school). There will always be that common ground even without the close friendships we formed with some of our classmates.

  3. Very well put. You can not go back but is sure nice to see the people who help shape who we are today. For me it was so nice to see everyone, remembering old times and seeing where everyone is today. But for me it was also about seeing one special person that I will always charish. They played a big part in who I am today, even thought our lives took different paths.
    It really is amazing when I think of all the things I have done over the past 30 years and all of the people I have met. You sometimes wonder how different things might of been and then again I am so thankful for how good they have been. I am very thankful for my wife and kids who make my life so very interesting.
    So to all my friend I would like to say how great it was seeing you all and lets all try to stay in contact with each other even if it's just a quick comment on facebook. Best wishes to all. Bruce Taylor

  4. Very well put, Mike. Back then...we wanted it to be now...now...a lot of times...we wish it could be back then.

  5. Well said Mike! Youth absolutely is wasted on the young. I wish my body could keep up with my mind and maturity, but we keep plugging along and be thankful for all that we have - especially those special friends from our youth who truly, in one way or another, helped us to become who we are today. I am always amazed at how easy it is to pick up right where I left off when catching up with old friends; as if the years were only minutes.

  6. Well said. You remember those days and then think how it easy it all was and how difficult it all was at the same time. Some things change, some don't. You hated getting up for school, you hate now getting up for work. You can remember that time like it was yesterday. Then you blink and it's 30 years later and you wonder how the hell you became the spitting image of your parent in the mirror.