Friday, June 11, 2010

A Toast to Something Unpredictable

At some point this afternoon, the Class of 2010 shall graduate from the Wardlaw-Hartridge School in Edison, New Jersey. It is an event that unless you are among the graduates or their families has likely not been denoted on your social calendar. No apology necessary. For reasons not entirely clear to me, I am a member of the Board of the Alumni Association at my high school Alma mater and I shall not be there. Again, no apology necessary from me either. While I am connected to the alumni end of the operation at W-H these days, I do not know any of this year's graduates.

While I shall not be on Inman Avenue this afternoon to watch this year's group complete this leg of their academic journey, I cannot help but think about them just a little bit today. It was a quarter-century ago that I stood where they stand today - with my friends and classmates as the Class of 1985 bid adieu to a place that some of us had called home since we were of elementary-school age. Twenty-five years. I suspect that time is for me as it is for most of us a concept that is both easy to and and impossible to measure. At times, twenty-five years ago seems like twenty-five lifetimes ago. Then again at times it seems closer to twenty-five minutes ago.

I subscribe to the Pete Hamill school of thought on the distinction between sentimentality and nostalgia: New York toughens its people against sentimentality by allowing the truer emotion of nostalgia. Sentimentality is always about a lie. Nostalgia is about real things gone. Nobody truly mourns a lie. I have no delusions about the boy I was a quarter-century ago. I think about the boys/girls graduating from high school this year - including my Alma mater - and wonder if they will be as surprised as I sometimes am to see the journey that I have taken over the course of the past twenty-five years and left to wonder sometimes how surprised eighteen-year-old me would be by some of the steps that forty-three year-old me has taken to bridge the gap from then to now.

This year for the first time (at least the first time that I am aware of but it is entirely possible that they have had one ever year for the past two dozen and simply made the high-percentage move of not telling me about them) my class is going to have a reunion. The convenience of the Internet has allowed a number of us to reconnect (virtually anyway) and since a number of us have reestablished some degree of contact, the next logical step (I guess) is to get together in the same place. To make "FB" stand for "flesh and bone" instead of Facebook for at least one evening. It should be an interesting evening.

The life I live now is not the one I necessarily thought that I would be living way back when in 1985. Way back when Ronald Reagan was but a few months into his second term, baseball had but two divisions per league and only two playoff qualifiers from each and the scrappy tag team of Doc Brown and Marty McFly were preparing for their first little bit of cinematic time Jimmy Fabricatore's DeLorean. It is not necessarily the life I thought I would be living now but it is most certainly a life I would not trade for another.

A lesson learned in time. And still being absorbed.....twenty-five years further on up the road. And being taught anew today to one and all. Some things remain constant. Irrespective of time's passage.



Tara and Jerry said...

Super blog, Adam. I also have thought about what 17 year old Jerry would think about 41 year old Jerry. One area where I think I have grown is that 17 year old Jerry would stand ready to judge the older me; while the older me knows there are many paths to happiness and it is not ours to judge one's choices...thanks for sharing your blog.

Adam K. said...

Well said Cas and thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts.