Last night I went to my high school reunion. It wasn’t a huge gathering of a hundred people in a hotel ballroom, it was a small gathering at a Mexican restaurant. Maybe 20 or 30 people. I hadn’t been close friends with most of the people present when we were students together 32 years ago, but I did, at least, remember most of them. Everyone was smiling and congenial. We hugged, asked about children, grandchildren and parents. We told each other how wonderful we looked and truly meant it. Happiness and peace seemed present in everyone, and the inner beauty of each person was readily apparent.
On the surface, the experience was enjoyable: renewing acquaintances from long ago. On a deeper level, it was mildly unnerving: revisiting the shadow of my former self. Someone asked me if I had kept in touch with any of our classmates through the years and I had to honestly answer that I hadn’t. That question opened a little tunnel to my past and caused me to consider who I was and how I got from there to here.
Life is a process of self discovery. During the past five years I made a rather significant discovery about myself. Consequently, it occurs to me that years ago, living without this information was not exactly advantageous. I found myself struggling to feel comfortable with myself and feel as though I had control of my own happiness.
As I was about to depart, someone mentioned how much I had changed. And she was right. On the drive home I realized my own journey of self discovery had been astonishingly transformational. While I am the same person that I was all those years ago, I now know who that person is. I am able to live an authentic life and it has removed those barriers to happiness that seemed to plague me before.
So overall, I’m glad I went to this reunion. I wish it had not been such a fleeting, hurried experience. But it was a good experience.