My 20 year high school reunion was at the beginning of August. I didn’t go. Not because I didn’t want to relive high school and finally drink alcohol with friends legally. It wasn’t because I was afraid to go back and have some weird and awkwardly bad attempt at a comedy movie. My schedule just wouldn’t allow it. We were in California in June visiting family and I just couldn’t make it back again in August. I did get to drive by my old high school. That’s about it. Thankfully for Facebook, I can keep in touch with the friends from high school regularly.
It’s also been about 15 years since I graduated from college and 10 since I graduated from seminary (if you do the math, I spent a long time in higher education, longer than probably necessary). It was always a treat when I’d come back to west Michigan to visit my alma mater. I got to look around, breathe in memories, and pretty much talk about the fun I had.
Now that I live 20 minutes from my old college and seminary and routinely go there for conferences, meetings, and the like, the buzz of coming back just isn’t there as much.
Take last Friday for example. I was in the area of my old college and I had been putting off swinging by to get something there I needed. So I drove up, parked legally in the Visitors Parking slot (again, not so much back in college) and ran my errand.
Memories started flooding back. Instead of breathing in the good times, I started to cough on the dumb things I did.
To be honest, I was really immature, hot headed, argumentative, and very annoying back in college (high school and seminary too). I started to realize what a total dork/jerk/annoying person I once was. To be honest though, this has been popping into my head off and on.
Each time came with a mental face palm.
A face palm is where you literally put the palm of your hand over your face. This is done due to frustration, embarrassment, or the total act of stupidity done by somebody or yourself. And I have done a face palm for my past a lot lately.
Was I really that brash? Was I really that argumentative? Was I really that snarky? (I’ve toned down the snark now to a more respectable level). Was I really that much of a know-it-all? Was I really up on my high horse of hubris?
The answer: Yep, pretty much.
To be honest, it makes me want to go back and just apologize to my old professors and classmates that I annoyed and argued with. To tell them that I matured. To apologize for arguing against them in class purely for the sake of argument when I should’ve been listening to their wisdom and knowledge. I want to tell them “I’m not as smart as I thought I was, I now know so little when I thought I knew so much then.”
I think back to my younger years in my 20’s when thought I knew so much and just do a total face palm.
In many ways I have changed. I am not who I once was. But in other ways, I’m still the same. I still have my snark (just not as much…no seriously….not as much). I still have my weird quirky sense of humor (I think it’s actually gotten quirkier and weirder). I still tend to dress in flannel, t-shirts, and blue jeans (grunge isn’t dead, it’s just waiting to be retro but not in an ironic way). And I still am willing to discuss (not argue, discuss) opposing views.
I guess the more things change, the more they stay the same.
In many ways, as I’m older, I’m realizing how much I don’t know. I’m realzing how much wisdom I still don’t have (people say I have wisdom, but most the time I’ve stolen it from older, wiser pastors, friends, and sometimes Yoda or Uncle Iroh from Avatar: The Last Airbender). As I’ve somehow gotten older and closer to 40 (2 more years to a new decade…scary) I’ve seen how I’ve matured over the years (just a note, growing up and maturing are two different things…and now, action figures are not toys but figurines and comic books are actually great literature and wonderful artwork) and how different I’ve become. And yet how much the same I’ve stayed.
Life is weird that way.