Looking back at our formative years

Apr 07, 2024
Dive into the nostalgia-filled journey of reconnecting with old friends and classmates, where every memory feels like yesterday. Source: Getty Images.

I recently received an email from one of my colleagues when I attended UCSB. A few of us have reconnected, and now we are looking at having a college reunion next year. It’s funny, although 50 years have passed, we all seem to land on the same page regarding memories and reflections.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve become increasingly more nostalgic as I’ve gotten older. People from grammar school, high school, and my hometown hold a new significance for me. Maybe it’s because we don’t have as much time ahead of us anymore. Are we trying to reclaim our past? Stir up the memories? Compare ourselves between then and now? Make up for lost time before it’s too late?

There’s a comfortable familiarity when we connect with people from our formative years. To a certain degree, we don’t have to try as hard. These people already know you, or they know who you used to be.

I don’t think the thread of our core personalities change that much. Taking different pads along the way, but the fundamental person we used to be is still there. I was a class clown in high school. I’m still goofy.

Do many of us look backward to the familiar when something serious happens? My grammar school pal called me when his mother passed away. We chatted for at least an hour, remembering her, and reminiscing about the things we used to do on the playground. He didn’t have to explain anything to me.

And I suspect many of us look toward our youth when we get widowed or divorced. I wonder if Bob is single again? Whatever happened to Sharon? Maybe we look back at the relationships we’ve had in hopes of rekindling something. Revisiting something that’s familiar seems easier than having to start over all over again. Maybe it’s too much effort to explain about the pain of grammar school, the first time we lost our virginity, or our divorce?

When my mother remarried, ironically, it was to her brother-in-law. He was a known entity. They had shared so many decades together through their various family connections, so marrying him was easy for my mom. Reconnecting was easy. I love hearing from people from my past. It’s interesting to see how lives have evolved, and sometime there are even a few surprises. The class president became a drug addict. The nerd who is teased in high school became a billionaire by inventing something profound. The hot boy in college ended up in jail.

I think most of our lives are fairly predictable, but it’s always fun to encounter some surprises and weave them into the fabric of the present. As you’ve, aged, have you noticed that your connections with your past have become more poignant? Do people from a long time ago matter to you or do you not care at all?

I would love to hear your stories.

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