I had lots to think about after a recent meeting with friends, some I haven’t seen in years, forty or more, to be exact. I swear, I am now a firm believer in that particular theory which states age and the concept of years as nothing but man-made constructs. As proof, we retold stories of shared experiences in college and it still felt like they just happened yesterday. All throughout the evening, the image of old Legos bolting-in played in my mind as we recalled clips of times together in school. Rejuvenated old girls and boys, playing with old toys. Ageless.Then, I remember what someone once told me, “Real friends who have not seen each other for a long time will always talk as though the years of separation never happened, because you all begin again where you left off.”
Old tales were given a new sheen as we recounted them, with more details and background insights that I have never heard before. For me, the outcome of our dinner conversations came out looking like a freshly-painted old bike that you excitedly bring home with.
In the past, I have always been wary of reunions, and in all, I have only attended one (because I wanted a friend-classmate to win a bet that she could get me to come). All the other get-togethers, I simply ignored. My only means of getting updates on the regular goings-on was by “watching from afar”, meaning, looking at their Facebook posts, and then dismissively thinking I had not really missed a thing.
This was not a snobbish move, mind you, but an assertion that my interests just simply lay elsewhere, outside reunions and reminiscences of things past. At that time, if I felt the need to reminisce at all, I would just listen to 70s music, and I was cool.
Now, the folly of non-attendance has come to haunt me when, during the course of our tete-a-tete, I’ve come to realize that I indeed, had missed on a lot of things. Big time.
For one, tales about our children and grandchildren, especially when shared with friends, are natural aperitif for a night filled with great conversation. These truly brought out the animatedly-best in all of us as children’s antics and natural penchant for mischief ruled over our table.
The most profound effect however for me was the knowledge that many among our batch-mates (and good old friends) have already passed away. My deep sadness stems from the belief that all along, I had thought that these cohorts in my youthful misadventures were merely miles away, living their own lives, or comfortably establishing beacheads somewhere in the world. Realizing that they are actually gone forever, now fills me with a disturbing sense of regret.
These realities, one can’t merely dismiss as one of those “that’s life” moments. By opting to go along the offroads of my own choosing, I have missed out on some significant segments of life’s parade going by. Time to make amends I guess. After all, alone times may be good (and healthy even) for everyone, as they strengthen resolve and spirit, but once in a while, the balance provided by the company of a few, helps in the assessment of where you are in the world.