Whatever Happened To…?

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about various people I’ve known at different times in my life. In my mind they are still the age they were when I knew them. For that matter, I am still a young man in my own mind. When I see the white haired man in the mirror in the morning it is startling. I have learned a lot since I was a young man but I still harbor the illusion of being the same person that I was then.

I recently changed task assignments. In my new assignment I work in an environment where several different contractors work together on the same team for a government customer. When I reported to the assignment I was pleasantly surprised to discover that several of the members of the team were coworkers that I hadn’t seen in over twenty five years. They had aged much as I have. They were still recognizable but they had grey hair and other signs of aging.

It has been disconcerting to learn who they have become. It has been an indication to me that maybe I have changed more than I realize. I hope I have changed for the better but that remains to be seen. You can only make those kinds of judgement by comparing the behavior of the person that you were with the behavior of the person you are now. It is hard to remember the behavior of the person that you were then. In any case, your memory of how you behaved will certainly differ from the memory of other people that you knew then.

Some of the people that I’ve been thinking about go back even further in my life than twenty five years. For instance, I’ve been thinking about the people that I went to grade school with. I have found some of them on the internet. One is a librarian. Another is a judge. I would never have guessed he would be a judge, much less a lawyer. The librarian was easier to predict. She always had her nose in a book.

I want to attempt to catch up with some of those people. One of the problems is that they live so far away from where I live now. Another is the fear that whatever we new about each other then will be so far in the past that we wouldn’t even recognize each other now, either externally or internally.

Then there is my best friend from junior high and high school. We haven’t talked to each other for years. I got the impression the last time I talked to him that he wasn’t particularly interested in talking with me. I suppose I can relate to that. It’s hard enough cultivating and maintaining friendship the first time around. After decades of neglect, it is understandable that you might not want to invest anything in a relationship that may evaporate just as quickly as it did the first time around.

I guess the only way you can find out is to try. There are so many ways to communicate in this modern society. We managed to keep in touch for ten years or so with pen, paper, envelopes, and postage stamps. We also used to exchange letters on cassette tapes. That will give you an idea of how long ago it was. I suppose I am just as wary of reestablishing contact as he was the last time I tried.

Sweet dreams, don’t forget to tell the ones you love that you love them, and most important of all, be kind.