20 years and still here

I went to my 20-year high school reunion in Ocala last weekend, and I think I’m starting to have a better idea of what Baz Luhrmann was talking about in his “sunscreen song” written for a graduating high school class.

The older you get, the more you need the people you knew when you were young.

Ocala isn’t a big city, and my high school was small even by small-town standards. I graduated in a class with just 53 others. About half of us turned up for our reunion in a modified barn venue on the horse side of town last weekend. All of us are still alive, which is a victory in itself.

When I knew a lot of these people, they were young and hungry and optimistic and trying to figure things out. A lot of them now are middle aged and content, optimistic about their kids and still trying to figure things out.

There was plenty of time to talk about all of that as we surrounded the open bar or the blazeless fire pit behind the barn – this was still Florida in August, which is not bonfire season. But there were plenty of memories to talk about, too, of events we thought so pivotal and important back then and now know to be rather carefree and low-stakes. 

Our trials and troubles, the new events of the day we believe to be so pivotal and important, are plenty now. They can wear us down and make us think we’ll never make it through. I wonder how we’ll look back at us now at our 50th reunion. 

That’s still a long way away, but none of us could really believe it has been 20 years since we graduated. Then we watched a DVD of our senior year homecoming. It had been converted from VHS.

I had so much more hair then. 

I’m thankful I still have the friends.

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