Recognizing that it’s been 50 years since I attended high school is definitely a milestone. And it gave me pause to think. Where am I going? What’s next? What’s it all about? Whatever happened to that crazy kid standing in the back of the room in my fifth grade picture? Oh wait, that’s me. I know what happened. 57 years happened. And, just as my parents and grandparents used to say, “Where did the years go?” It was just the other day when I was smooching my first love on the cheek on our way to recess (Zoe smooched me back so it was mutual). When we had air raid drills and hid under the desks to protect ourselves in case of bombs, I’d see her scrunching up too. And I wanted to be next to her so we could die together. The notes we wrote in each other’s autograph books in 6th grade were filled with longing to be together and promises that we’d meet again in high school. Our love was endless and we had our whole lives ahead of us. Reconnecting with her and the other classmates is special.
But the other day I found out that a good friend from just a few years ago died. It happened quickly from pancreatic cancer, the same disease that took my mother 40 years ago. And a dear, dear friend is suffering from a different cancer. I’ve now hit double digits when it comes to the number of peers who have died. These people are not from the older generation, but my friends, my contemporaries.
So there’s nothing wrong with holding on. Or with looking back at those fresh fifth grade faces with lifetimes ahead of them. It’s a great thing to do. It reaffirms how wonderful my life has been. When your wife can agree that your first love was the prettiest girl in your class, you know you’ve had it good.