Can you go home again?
This week-end was to be a momentous occasion.
It’s our high school reunion where we’ve gathered in our hometown.
The momentous occasion should be the reunion, but it’s actually happened before the doors to the ballroom have opened.
It’s a funny realization that sometimes you just can’t go home again.
Being with my best friends, and friends who I’ve been in contact with for the past few years has been fun; connecting with people who either I never hung out with in school or we’ve lost contact over time has been great too.
I’m sharing a hotel room with my best friends. We woke Saturday morning and two of us decided to go on a run.
As we jogged, the familiar and very unfamiliar littered our path. We jogged side by side and at one point my friend pulled ahead.
And I started to think.
I thought how foreign this place seemed to me. I recognized I felt no connection to my childhood here. There was no sentimental emotion.
I felt sad.
I couldn’t figure out how the decades kept passing and the things I wanted to accomplish appeared to still be elusive. I’ve been living, but had I really been “living” at maximum?
And would another 10 years pass and I’d feel the same? I grew sadder and felt the fear rising in me.
This city does not resemble the place I grew up; most of the familiar landmarks are no longer there or have changed.
As I trotted up the freeway overpass, I wanted to go home. But, where was home?
Where I live now?
Or as I know deep inside of me, I haven’t found it in a place, but in myself.
My home inside of me is where I live, in my heart.
When I remove my ego, my complaints, my unanswered wants and needs and I dig deep in my heart. I am not alone; I feel him. No matter how many times I want to remove him from this home, I’m never able to ignore the truth. I’ve learned to surrender to the heart, as it doesn’t change, Acceptance and love for all you are and are not is a gift, no matter what the package.
These thoughts came to me, and “man oh man,” it was starting to weigh heavily. I kept trying to focus on the fun I’m having with my girlfriends, how we’ve shared so much laughter.
I caught up to my friend as we entered the Farmer’s Market. We tasted some delectable plums; we slipped on through the row, the music became louder as we neared the end, and there sat an older man playing “Heart of Gold” on an acoustic guitar.
I said, I could never live here again. She expressed the same thought.
I wanted to start crying. I told my friend. She said, “I know me too!”
We started to cry and laugh as we talked. She shared how as she went over the bridge she had been thinking this wasn’t home and how she too didn’t really want to be here. Maybe if the reunion was held elsewhere, it would be different, but that it was really feeling heavy to her too.
We agreed it was bittersweet and cried as we promised each other that no matter what, we’d not be roommates with a houseful of cats. Instead, we promised a different picture with partners who share our lives.
We talked some more.
What are the chances that we were sharing the same thoughts, emotions and feelings at the same exact moment?
We found it odd that we shared the same experience as we crossed that bridge. The days are behind us to go home again, to this past.
And as the time approaches for the doors to the ballroom to open, the question of “What have I done in the past 10 years?” comes to a head. So far, I felt I weathered my disappointments well, constantly tearing off the wallpaper lest it cover up a stain that grows into bitterness.
I feel confident, but as I find myself descending the depths of the elevator to make our appearance, I wonder. Am I the only one? Not to compare, but to connect.
We all look to be the part or act the part. Those who I shared many moments of laughter and tears in that 48 hour period agreed that to know the real story is so much better than the resume on steroids of “who we are supposed to be.”
I am lucky to have a great group of close and extended friends in my life, that I can never thank enough for being in my corner. Always.
The reunion felt almost like an ode of Auld Lang Syne to our youth, as we laughed at things like we were teenagers.
It certainly is still funny to find how bodily functions; sex and goofy behavior can make you STILL double over in laughter years later.
Those moments were the best moments of the week-end.
We also found how certain people kept themselves apart from the rest of us, high school illusions still ruling their days. It’s too bad they miss out on being part of what could’ve been for them a momentous occasion.
There are those no longer with us. And others whose struggle with life challenges and pain bigger than mine, and I know deep down I feel lucky, no matter what.
Waking up the morning after a mixture of all things. My wrestling match inside of the loose ends in my life met by the realization that I can look at what I don’t have or who I have not turned out to be, YET. Or I can choose what the next 10 years can be, if I just let each day, even the crappy ones, be a momentous occasion to celebrate.
And as I drive away, Heart of Gold plays on my radio…. Perfect.