Last week, I met with some of my classmates from my childhood school days. Not just high school, but junior high. Not just junior high, but elementary (small towns, small classes). I hadn't seen some of them since our 20 year reunion and in some cases, since graduation.
It was a good visit. In addition spending a pleasant evening in good company, I left with three things to ponder, which I'll share:
Some Things Don't Change Over Time
A generation has passed. Many of my classmates have children who have grown up and started families of their own. Others have remarried, while others still are single.
Yet, we can sit together and chat like school was yesterday. Which is interesting in itself because those of us who gathered weren't all from the same "clique" in school. Yet, there was no awkwardness, just the joy of catching up and spending time together.
No matter how much time changes, our inner core remains essentially the same. So we could agree on who's really nice and who is still a jerk. Not only that, we could just explain things away with, "C'mon. You know my parents..."
How Well Did We Know Each Other?
That was a big theme over dinner. Some lost one or both parents at a fairly young age. There were a few teen pregnancies, resulting in those students disappearing for a while. Others faced challenges we knew nothing about. We attended classes together and had no idea of the pain that these folks were going through. Now, as adults, we look back on what happened to some of our classmates with a deeper sensitivity and understanding.
Between reconnecting with classmates at this dinner and through Facebook, I've been surprised to see that I share many common interests with classmates I hardly spoken to when we were younger. For most of us, these are passions and hobbies we've pursued since childhood but we just didn't know since we weren't revolving around the same circles. Therefore, it's a blessing to reconnect as adults and enjoy these connections with a greater appreciation.
One Word, One Act Can Influence a Lifetime
One of my classmates said that she can look at each of us from our grad class and remember something about us. Not only that, she said that each of us has touched her life in some way and has shaped who she is now.
Whether it's a classmate or a coworker, neighbour or fellow volunteer - we each touch each other's lives - for better or for worse. It could be just for a moment or a day, or it could be over years, but the impact can result in something big.
I don't know about you, but that makes me think about how I affect those around me. Am I affecting someone for better or for worse? If it's the latter, what am I going to do about it?