25 years is making me sick

I wrote the majority of this blog post yesterday.

[9-14-2013]

Today is my 25th high school reunion. And I am terrified.

Circumstances have prevented me from attending any previous reunions, so this will be the first time that I have seen a lot of the people with whom I graduated.

And 25 years is a long time.

A lot years. A lot of changes. Both physically and emotionally.

This morning, what I am feeling is that I have come home again. And it is scary.

When I think about why I am feeling this way, I guess that I am not really that surprised. The people with whom I graduated were some of the most important people in my life from the ages of 5 to 18. Those years helped form the person that I am today, though they aren’t fully responsible for the person that I am today.

During those years, I wanted to fit in, be liked, have friends, be “one of the gang”….all those John Hughes’ 80’s movies clichés (those were the movies of my generation — Pretty in Pink, Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off). I struggled with all those big-screen emotions, all those insecurities, in my small-town life.

I have discovered that when my 43-year-old self is put back into the midst of my 18-year-old self dynamic, my 18-year-old self insecurities are revived.

It’s like going into a house of horrors — I think it’s going to be fun, but I’m pretty sure I’m going to get the shit scared out of me.

If I weren’t experiencing this, I would find this extremely interesting. Really, I find it interesting regardless. Do we ever outgrow our adolescent angst? Do those demons, the ones that were most prevalent through those most precious formative years, ever completely let go of our psyche? I am a much different person than the one I was 25 years ago, as I would assume all my classmates are, as well. The ways that I have changed, whether good or bad, have made me more comfortable with who I am than I was even last year. But….throw people who haven’t seen me in 25 years into the equation and BOOM! Terror. I think that I may be having one of those “too much in my head” moments.

So, Thomas Wolfe — you can go home again. And my trip is filling me with anxiety.

Today

[9-15-2013]

I had a lot of fun yesterday and it was really great to see so many people who I hadn’t seen in so many years.

And the greatest thing — I learned that many of us are in the same place in our lives. Questions about careers, family responsibilities, growing older, children, etc. We are all struggling with and celebrating many of the same life events and milestones. And with maturity, with the ability to look beyond myself, I can finally see how we all connect. And how we always did. But as that young, immature 18-year old, barely able to see beyond my own self and own needs, it was harder to see the connection that was there all long.

Perspective is a marvelous thing.

Out of Control

It’s been a long time since I’ve had a chance to sit down and put down any thoughts. A whirlwind of activities and events have been taking place around me, and sometimes I have literally felt that I have been observing the proceedings rather than actively engaging (or directing) them.

The lack of control (or the perception that I lack the control) has colored much of my life and played an important part in my outlook, attitude and mental health most of my thirty-ahem-odd years. It’s amazing how anxious and nervous and rattled we humans become when we don’t feel like we have the answer, the we know the outcome, that we’re prepared for the unexpected.

I recently read a daily devotional that described how flying and surgery are two of the few times that people knowingly and willingly give up all control — we board a plane / lay on a operating table, buckle our seat belt / close our eyes, and allow the pilot to lift us off the ground / anesthesiologist to put us to sleep and the surgeon to cut us open. And we have little to no say in how they perform those tasks.

I have a hard time letting go, letting the chips fall, saying que sera sera. There is so much that is, well frankly, just scary out there. Yet, my powers aren’t super and my knowledge is omniscent. I’m vulnerable and prone to make errors. So, what is the answer?

I’m not sure. It’s as simple as that. I don’t know, but I’ve made it thirty-ahem-some years without screwing it up too badly. I think that some of it is not taking yourself too seriously. I think some of it is leaning on your family and friends when you need help (and when you don’t). Some of comes down to (as Tracy Jordan from “30 Rock” said) “Live every week like it’s Shark Week.” I’m pretty sure 100% of it is trusting in the Lord.

There is a song by the Indigo Girls in which the question is asked in the chorus “What would you give for your childhood fears?” I’ve thought about that question a lot over the years — what did I fear when I was young? My friends not being my friends any more; Mom and Dad being mad at me; not getting the “cool” pair of jeans or sneakers? In retrospect, those seem like such silly, small fears that who wouldn’t trade their scary, adult fears (mortgages, lay-offs, divorces, addictions, etc.) for their childhood fears. But I wouldn’t. I think that I’m better equipped now to handle my big, scary adult fears.

So, I’m feeling a little out of control. Lord, before You take this plane off and perform my surgery (cause I’m putting this into Your hands), could I get a drink, an insurance policy and a hug?