I should probably be more hesitant to share this in “public,” but I attended my 35th high school reunion last night. That’s right 35th. A damn long time ago.
What I noticed most? How lucky I was to have attended the high school I did (Stuyvesant) with amazing, amazing people. I know many people don’t stay in touch with high school friends, or feel like they have much in common with them, but that doesn’t seem to be true here. Maybe it was something special about our school, or our class. Maybe it was because most students traveled to get to Stuyvesant. (It was my “local” high school, being only 11 blocks away, but I was one of the few who were lucky enough to walk.) Maybe it’s because the late 70s and early 80s were a different time – and especially a different time in NYC.
I don’t know what it is – except maybe what a friend of mine expressed this morning. “It’s good to see people whom one has known for so long. Even without seeing each other for years, there is an understanding I have with you that I don’t have with people who have only known me as an adult. We helped each other become adults and that is something we will never share with anyone else.”
As always, he is well said. I couldn’t agree more. These are people who knew me when, and who knew me through. Many of my dearest friends literally and figuratively held me up as I stepped away from the Church to start anew. They listened to my agony. They showed me a life – and joy and laughter – that I had never known. And many people had no idea, and approached me last night and said that exact thing (because they’ve read at least some of my posts) – “I had no idea.”
I hid it relatively well back then. My life as a Moonie was something to hide at school; it was something that I didn’t think anyone would understand. And I didn’t think they’d approve.
It kept me apart from people. Or so I thought. Because spending a few too-short hours seeing faces I hadn’t seen in too many years, made me realize that it didn’t keep me apart. Not that far apart. It made me realize that so many of these people mattered, and matter, to me more than I know on a daily basis.
To those of you whom I see more often (though not often enough), let’s see each other more. To those of you whom I see every five years, let’s see each other more as well. To all of you who made Stuy what it was, and still is, and who stood by me and with me on my journey into adulthood, as I said last night, “I love you.”
As I’ve written numerous times, for me life is about noticing, calling out, and holding onto the blessings that could pass us by if we’re not paying attention. In many ways high school was one of the toughest times of my life. In many ways, and many ways I remembered yesterday, it was the sweetest.
I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!