There’s nothing like a 40th high school reunion, in a hometown I haven’t visited in a long while, to bring home the memories. As old friends and acquaintances we have our stories. Even a lot of the buildings are tied to some kind of memory.
I’m from a very small town. Not only did I know my classmates, I also knew their parents because they ran the drug store, the grocery, the auto parts store, the dry cleaners. They were our doctors, dentists and, of course, our teachers. Now the doctor’s office is a day care. The grocery is a restaurant. The insurance office a thrift shop. My old high school has been leveled. All those memories released into the ether. It has me thinking about memories. What are they? Where do they come from? Why do we have them?
What are Memories?
Memories are mostly about human interaction. We may remember a house we lived in, but our memories center around the interactions we had with the people who lived, or visited, us there. I believe our memories connect us. The shared experiences connected us the first time and the memories reconnect us again, but in a different way. “Do you remember when….?” Sometimes it is the tragedies that are remembered but most often it is the funny crazy stories. “How did we ever make it to adulthood?”
Reminiscing is an important tool for re-membering. Re-membering is the opposite of dis-membering, losing touch, disconnection. We’ve all evolved and changed. Re-membering allows us to use those shared experiences to reconnect in the present, with who we are today.
Coming Into Our Own
It’s been 10 years since I’ve seen most of my classmates. Most everyone has come into their own, become the person we saw mere glimpses of so many decades ago. They’re confidently themselves, talking about family and work and life’s ups and downs. As teens we were starry-eyed and filled with hope about life’s possibilities. Now we’ve traveled some miles, reached some our hopes and lost some of our dreams. We’ve learned our limitations. We’ve come face to face with reality. I am reminded that the last chapters of our lives are of far more import than the first.
The older I get the less I know. One thing is sure …I’ve learned to ask bigger questions. My inquiries are no longer about who or what or why. They are more along the lines of How can I incorporate each of my experiences into the scope of my life?
Right now, re-membering is important to me. I know that shared memories are one of the biggest losses in a divorce. Perhaps you can look back to some shared experiences with others and rebuild your “memory base” with some old friends. Who do you know that you could rekindle some memories with?