Okay, this weekend was a bit of a surprise. First off, this was not my high school reunion as some of you had assumed. That's next year. This was a reunion of a choir I was in. The choir is, sadly, no more, but it was in existence from 1970-1991. That means the people at this reunion ranged in age from early fifties to early thirties.
I did see many old friends and I hope I'll stay in touch with them. There were moments when we were eighteen again, but mostly there wasn't a need to recapture our youth as much as acknowledge it.
It was so strange to see people who, until this weekend, were forever frozen as teenagers in my mind, suddenly age twenty years or more. There were wrinkles. Paunches. Bald spots. Most of the men were much broader than they used to be. Several of the women had turned into their mothers. There were some deaths, but many, many more births. People I remember as kids were now doctors, ministers, college professors, new mothers and fathers, old mothers and fathers, stay at home parents, teachers, writers, lawyers . . . the gamut.
But in most ways, they were still the people I remembered.
In addition to the obligatory slide show and photo albums, one of the girls (whom I suppose I should call a woman since she's now free to be in her thirties in my mind, instead of being stuck at sixteen) brought a video of one of our performances. A musical that we took on tour my senior year.
I'm unused to seeing myself. I don't like being photographed or filmed, tend to avoid mirrors . . . too self-conscious. Yet for about an hour on Saturday, I found myself watching a seventeen-year-old version of myself. Speaking dialogue I can't remember having ever learned. Singing songs that I didn't recognize. Doing choreography that made the adult me wince with embarrassment (luckily, all of us watching were doing that).
I noticed a few things. I had a good voice. A high, clear tenor. And I was a decent looking kid. Not one of the really beautiful guys in our group, but not bad (with the exception of my John Denver hair and owl-like glasses). Why couldn't I have seen that then? All I saw then was the awkwardness, the not-quite-proportional body, the high-pitched voice . . . everything framed as a negative.
I wish I could have seen then what I see now.
But as Roseanne Rosannadanna said, "Ya know, Jane, it's always something . . ."
This weekend allowed me the opportunity to compare who I used to be with who I've become. And frankly, I'm not pleased. Somewhere along the line, I wandered seriously off course. I see the things I need to change, but I don't really know if I can. But hey, nothing ventured, nothing gained. And I just can't stay where I am any more.
Maybe I'll talk about some of this later, maybe not. Since the changes have to come from within, none of you may even notice. As long as I do, I suppose, that's all that matters.