Revisiting the Pasts in the Present

This weekend I’m gathering with about a dozen friends with whom I attended high school more than 50 years ago. I use the term “friends” somewhat loosely here, though (I think) not as loosely as it’s commonly used in these Facebook days. We attended a relatively small school, so we all knew each other, but I was much closer to some of those coming together than I was to others. And some of them have stayed in pretty close touch with each other over the last 50 or so years, while I’ve had relatively little contact with any of them. (And, in fact, I would say that they were very kind and generous to invite me to join them this weekend. I’m grateful.)

As it happens, the gathering is taking place in a city where I lived and worked for 10 years before moving to Boston. So I’ll be re-connecting with friends and former colleagues there as well. And I’m also going to be spending time with a favorite cousin who has known me since – well, since the time when I really wasn’t old enough to be much aware of anything other than whether someone might change my dirty diaper.

My point here is that this weekend will bring several stages of my life together in pretty close proximity. As I’ve thought about it, I realize not only that I really was a different person in each of these stages, but also that I came to be the person I was in the later stages in part by being the person that I was earlier. And my understanding of the person that I was earlier is surely shaped by the person that I am today.

Life is like that, I suppose. But being the introvert that I am, and spending as much time alone or with only my life partner as I do, it’s a bit jarring in a way to be moving back into these different groupings in the same weekend. Perhaps I’ll learn something more about myself.