Saturday, October 16, 2010

Forever Young

The Dancing Queen.  No longer 17.

The administrator for a children's hospital on the West Coast.  The merger and acquisitions lawyer up from Washington DC.  The school psychologist practicing in Virginia.  The financial consultant.  The grandmother of three fresh from a trip to Hawaii.  The produce clerk.  The man taking constant phone calls because his father was in the hospital, a thousand miles away.

What did we all have in common?   6 hours of dancing, talking, sharing email addresses, and looking at old photos.

A 40th high school reunion.

Not mine, but my husband's.  One of his friends organized it.  Before last night I had only met one of these people, and to my amazement, I recognized him the minute I saw him.  My husband was already in college when I met him so this was a part of his life that I was never able to share.

Until now.

There was the woman who, surveying the room, said to me "This is surreal".  Yes it was and I bet everyone who goes to a reunion (especially the 30th, the 40th, and beyond) thinks the same thing.  When you age, the people you knew in your childhood (if you don't see them as adults) are frozen in time.  The people you went to high school with are, in your mind, forever 17 and 18.  Even if they are really 58 or 60.

Until you go to the reunion, that is, and this is the surreal part.  You walk into the room and see a bunch of middle aged people just like you.  Some look like their yearbook photos.  Many do not. Many of us grey, all of us wrinkled, some of us in shape, others not so much.  Some of us have achieved great things.  Some have lived the lives they had planned to live but for many of us our lives have taken many unexpected directions.  Some good, some not.

We are older, wiser.  We accept the class clown, we reminise about old antics,  we laugh with and hug the classmate who had too much to drink and is now trying to cry on everyone's shoulder.  We know this moment isn't going to be forever.  We know when we have the next reunion we will be near 70.  Maybe we should have these more often.

Will we do that?

Or will we be reabsorbed into our daily lives?  Only time will tell.

But for that one night we were....forever young.

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