The 40’s are coming…

A fairly random conversation this morning with Karen and Delegatrix started
me down a path that I really hadn’t anticipated. Karen is getting ready to attend
her 25th high school reunion this weekend in West Virginia. Delegatrix then
brought up her old alma mater’s web site and discovered a listing for her 20-year
reunion – next year – young pup that she is. We discussed the pros and
cons of attending a class reunion. I am firmly in the “Cons” category
as far as my thoughts on attendance. While I may have spent seven years with
my fellow Lake Brantley graduates (3 years middle school, 4 years high school)
I can’t say I ever felt very close to many of them. The intervening years since
graduation in 1982 I have purposely boycotted attending both the 10 and 20-year
reunions. Why? Because, I felt there wasn’t anyone I really wanted to see, and
I wasn’t going to subject myself to the “Is your life better than my life”
comparison that seems prevalent at these sorts of gatherings.

No matter, Delegatrix’s high school site prompted me to find my high school
web site. And there it was, replete with an Alumni section. The only way I could
search it was to sign up, so I grudgingly did.  While I was reading the
brief posts from my fellow classmates, I was surprised to see posts from the
guys, waxing poetic about their families.  These were the same guys that
when I knew them could only talk about partying that weekend,
getting laid and football practice.  Now they were married, had children
and they seemingly had grown up. 

As I was perusing the list of people from my class, I ran across a name that
I fondly remember, my friend Denise. From 6th – 8th grade, we were not just
school chums; we were also comrades in arms. Together, with 10 other classmates,
we survived Mrs. O’Brien’s CCD classes, after regular school, 3 hours every other week for 3 years that would prepare us to receive the Catholic rite of Confirmation.
Turns out Denise lives in the Baltimore area, and something inside of me said:
email her. It was the thing that lately has been missing the old and familiar
things from a time long ago and far away.

To say that I was amazed by the speed of her return reply, and the happiness
she seemed to exhibit upon hearing from me is an understatement. We all want
to be liked and remembered. It is flattering to be sought out, and told nice
things about your past self.

Denise commented: “…I am so glad you e-mailed me.
I remember many times laughing with you…It is funny how many people are
catching up with each other. It must be our age…”

And that’s when it hit me, she was right – it must be our age! We’re all starting
to or have turned 40 this year. I’m no exception, as much as I would like to
be – the demise of my 30’s will come in late October. For me, at least,
my 20’s were about breaking free of the strictures of my youth, starting my
career and pretty much running wild and my 30’s were a time to start to become
who I will ultimately become, being more deliberate and serious about things
in my life (marriage and divorce). And now, with 40 looming a mere 4 months
away, I guess I am starting to freak out and have a mid-life crisis– I wonder
what my 40’s will hold for me? During this time, too, we begin to look backward
and remember the past more fondly. Do we perhaps see things with more perspective
and clarity? Or has encroaching middle age started to erode our memories and
given us bad judgment? I can’t answer that. I just know the conversation that
started this morning has stirred up something inside of me, made me reach out
to an old pal and made me think way too much about a time I didn’t care for
even when I was going through it the first time.

Oy! Forget the nostalgia — I’m going to be 40 in approximately 4 months
and 12 days from now. Is it all right if I start my freaking out now?

Comments on this entry are closed.