i thought it was my 35th high school reunion this year. turns out it was my 34th, and who’s counting any way?

the golfing, earlier in the day, was comparatively simple, people-wise — with golf, one of the easiest things is you only see so many people at a time on the course. reconnecting was fun and not too daunting. and, i killed it on the 14th hole. is there anything better than occasionally hitting the ball, getting that sweet sound of hitting the sweet spot and simply connecting? you tell me.

Later that day was the all-classes-invited party. yikes is about all I can still come up with. it’s hard to describe the feeling of complete discombobulation combined with smiling and laughing amazement. Here, all around me, are people that I knew through so many formative growing up years. I share history and experience and past, and yet, I have not been around for 30+ years. I have not seen the day to day changes, the shifts in views, beliefs and relationships, the babies and the careers, nor have i heard the stories.. I have not been privileged to stay in touch so much, but in the quad at villa park high school, oh so long ago in the late 70’s and early 80’s. what a strange and lovely experience last night was.

I am no longer the same person. No one I re-met or saw last night is the same person (moment to moment we are not the same person, however, I digress). We have this shared past that binds us in a certain way. We all likely remember orange and villa park as being these sleepy citrus communities where you played with friends all around well into the dusk. our mothers called out to us as the street lamps came on. Many of us knew each other from kindergarten through graduation. we shared lunches, tears, first kisses and group dates at disneyland. we knew each others siblings and had slumber parties, massive monopoly games and summer days at the beach. we knew which teachers and classes to take, or avoid, and lawd did we have cliques, just like any group of teenaged kids.

the beauty thing of waiting until thirty-some years for a meeting like this is that the cliques no longer matter. the separations are becoming minimized. we are all getting, okay, wait for it (gasp), older. we’ve been there. seen that. done it. AND we’re still okay. we know life will continue, and that all is well, and all will be well. we’ve got some faith and trust in life. yes there are tragedies. yes to annihilation and yet yes to exhilaration. life continues to give us juice to grow and master our lives as we begin to move into wisdom. we get to move into the sweet wisdom of life, of our lives.

selfportraitthe camaraderie I was privileged to experience last night has brought it all home for me all day today. thank you to each and every one of you who is part of who I have become. I cannot say thank you enough.

at the end of the night, the band that played oh so familiar tunes all night long ended with Journey’s anthem, Don’t Stop Believing. As everyone broke into song together on the dance floor, so much poignancy filled the air. This song was released in 1981, my graduation year, and encapsulates the emotions from that time, while projecting them into any future we would all desire to share…

Please, don’t stop believing. Belief in good, love, gratitude and grace are our birthrights. All that remains is for us to carry them into each day, and pass them forward to each next generation. We all have our share of pain to carry, we all have our share of joy. Let’s bear them with courage and let’s carry them forward and transform with love.

be a torch bearer with me. don’t stop believing. don’t give up.

much love to each and every one of you!

…………………………

a bit of footage!

Just a small town girl
Livin’ in a lonely world
She took the midnight train goin’ anywhere
Just a city boy
Born and raised in south Detroit
He took the midnight train goin’ anywhere
A singer in a smoky room
A smell of wine and cheap perfume
For a smile they can share the night
It goes on and on, and on, and on
[Chorus]

Strangers waiting
Up and down the boulevard
Their shadows searching in the night
Streetlights, people
Living just to find emotion
Hiding somewhere in the night

Working hard to get my fill
Everybody wants a thrill
Payin’ anything to roll the dice
Just one more time
Some will win, some will lose
Some were born to sing the blues
Oh, the movie never ends
It goes on and on, and on, and on

[Chorus]
Don’t stop believin’
Hold on to the feelin’
Streetlights, people
Don’t stop believin’
Hold on
Streetlights, people
Don’t stop believin’
Hold on to the feelin’
Streetlights, people