Reuniting with our Past: Dreaming of Another Life

The wistful beauty of Autumn is that it’s all about shedding the past.

It’s a breezy, sunny October afternoon here in Washington; Demeter, the goddess of the harvest, is making her presence known in a most delightful manner. Basking in the glow of the first red leaves in the still-warm sunshine, I sigh contentedly, grateful for these simple pleasures, but I recognize how easy it would be for me to disregard such things as unimportant, scowling at the breeze as a harbinger of another brutal winter.

 

Where do you fall on the spectrum of negativity these days?

 

When I fantasize about the lives of others, images of happy crowds lingering along the sidelines of children’s sporting events pop into my mind or scenes of increasing party chatter where guests mingle freely, swapping jokes and gossipy tidbits. Alas, neither of these is my reality. Even as a re-booter who knows what we see is not always aligned with reality, I still get tripped up.

 

I continually struggle against the impression that everyone else is living their life with zest! and oomph! and a whole lotta zaza, while I drift suspended in a translucent bubble, watching, but rarely intersecting, with the world. It’s an extremely odd feeling. On occasion, I chastise myself for framing my life in such dire terms—after all, it’s up to me to get out there and join the scrum, so maybe I’m just lazy or ill-suited to interaction. But on many occasions, I’m grateful that I have this haven of quiet that surrounds me. It’s this same refuge that enables me to watch and ponder all of you as you go about your busy and productive days. Often times, I torture myself with questions such as, “Am I wasting my time or not? What the hell do I think I’m doing with my life?”

 

Ring any bells?

 

Perhaps I am fretting more about such matters because, in a few weeks, I am going to travel 1200 miles to attend my college reunion. I loved going to college. I loved everything about it—I am lucky enough to have known some brilliant, talented, and amazing people. But all these years later, we’ve parted ways and what makes me hesitate is whether they’ll have mellowed and be welcoming of my current, deeply flawed self or if they’ll revert to the thoughtless but funny cruelties of yesteryear. To be honest, it won’t be so easy for me to witness the busy and constructive lives they’ve built for themselves (happiness, tbd) while I remain mired in this transition. It’s hard to hold your head up high when you feel laid low.

 

Still, my desire to revisit and reconnect is sufficiently great that I’ve opted to go. I don’t know how I’ll answer the awkward questions, ignore raised eyebrows, move past inevitable comparisons, or mourn paths not taken, but I remind myself that everyone has experienced heartache and disappointment, so chances are they’ll be somewhat sympathetic to mine. Reunions of any sort can be fraught, but they also promise great joy. That’s why people go.

 

What was the last reunion you had? It can be with anyone—your sibling, a former lover, a friend who dumped you and wants to reconnect, an army buddy. How did you feel when you saw them? What was it like to reconnect? Were you reminded of how happy you are to be in a different place now or do you regret the misunderstandings or circumstances that led to your parting ways? When they see you, do they recognize the person from long ago or welcome the person you’ve become? And is there room for them in your life today?

Kids in leaves

 

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