There’s just no way it’s been thirty years since I graduated from high school. Has it really been that long?
But based on the slide show I watched yesterday with my best friends from high school, I guess it really has been thirty years since we walked the halls of Balboa High School in the former (Panama) Canal Zone and there’s no use denying it.
This weekend my friends and I held what I consider to be the best kind of high school reunion: an intimate affair with the people we really spent time with then and want to spend time with again, along with any of our families that want to join us.
Donna flew in from Texas; Hemmily came up from Panama. Tania, Nona, Pam, and I drove from our homes in Virginia, and we all convened at Lynn’s home in Maryland. (No, the reunion is not held in Panama. It’s much easier for one of us to fly from Panama than for six of us to go there.)
We couldn’t have asked for better weather. It was a gorgeous spring day and we spent hours sitting on Lynn’s back porch or avoiding the kids’ splashes from the pool. The evening ended with a fire and s’mores (Hemmily’s first!).
Today as I look back at the day I’m grateful that we have been able to keep up friendships established so long ago. I only see a couple of these ladies at these reunions and it’s been years since our last one. A couple of the others I see once, maybe twice a year. We exchange Christmas cards and communicate on Facebook.
And yet, yesterday as I sat surrounded by these amazing, funny women, it seems like that’s all I did. I can’t remember having any long, personal exchanges with any of them. I listened to stories and I asked about the kids who didn’t make it out yesterday, but I feel like mostly I just listened to their stories. What does that say about me? Does it mean I don’t care about their lives now? Or does it seem that way? I know that as an introvert I have been accused of being cold or aloof or “stuck-up”. I’m sure my friends know I’m neither of these, but I can’t help but think that yesterday was a missed opportunity.
I could have asked more questions and prompted my friends for more about how they’re doing now. Because I do care and I care about what’s going on with them. I just have a hard time showing it.
I didn’t take many pictures yesterday. As I watched the slide show of our high school years (with some more photos thrown in from our last reunion) it occurred to me that when I took those pictures it was a way to take part without having to expose myself. I could hide behind the camera and take pictures of everything that was going on around me, often without having to be a full participant. These days I don’t take as many pictures. That’s neither good nor bad, really, but I think it does say something about my life now. I’m not really hiding behind the lens anymore, but maybe as I’m sitting back enjoying the view and the conversation, I’ve gotten lazy. I need to get up off my chair more often and go after that picture instead of waiting for it to compose itself in front of me.
So as I look at the few snapshots from yesterday I’m going to try to remember this:
- To capture more moments with my camera, I’m going to have to go after them.
- To nurture old friendships, I need to return to my original plan: write more letters.
- And when I have my friends sitting across the table from me, I need to make the most of it. Talk to them!