I’ll start posting about classmates again in the first week of January 2017. I spend the week after Christmas each year reflecting. 2016 was a year of contradictions for me. I have begun to wonder what 2017 holds.
I’d like to share the most important thing I learned this year. I found an article that really speaks to this truth. Here’s the link below. If you read the article you might want to start from the bottom; the first 2/3’s will appeal to a few, but is likely to disinterest most until you’ve read the real heart of why he’s saying. I’ve cut and pasted the seminal portion below to cut to the chase.
The same often goes for old friends. In high school, I sat around playing hearts with the same four guys about five days a week. In four years, we probably racked up 700 group hangouts. Now, scattered around the country with totally different lives and schedules, the five of us are in the same room at the same time probably 10 days each decade. The group is in its final 7%.
So what do we do with this information?
Setting aside my secret hope that technological advances will let me live to 700, I see three takeaways here:
1) Living in the same place as the people you love matters. I probably have 10X the time left with the people who live in my city as I do with the people who live somewhere else.
2) Priorities matter. Your remaining face time with any person depends largely on where that person falls on your list of life priorities. Make sure this list is set by you—not by unconscious inertia.
3) Quality time matters. If you’re in your last 10% of time with someone you love, keep that fact in the front of your mind when you’re with them and treat that time as what it actually is: precious.
It turns out that when I graduated from high school, I had already used up 93% of my in-person parent time. I’m now enjoying the last 5% of that time. We’re in the tail end. It’s a similar story with my two sisters. After living in a house with them for 10 and 13 years respectively, I now live across the country from both of them and spend maybe 15 days with each of them a year. Hopefully, that leaves us with about 15% of our total hangout time left.
What did I learn? Even though it seems I’m in midlife, I’m really at the tail end of so many of the relationships that have made me who I am. Things got real in 2016! I was at the tail end for years with my Dad and didn’t know it. I’m at the tail end with Camden and he still has a semester of high school to go. I’m also at the tail end with my high school classmates. It’s clear in this context why I’d go through the hassle to put up this site, to court public rejection, and to invest in relationships otherwise left for dead. I have benefited tremendously!
What will I do with what I’ve learned? To use sports jargon…I can’t put time back on the clock. What I can do is engage. Someone along the way in this journey warned that reconnecting takes a lot of energy. I believe that is true. The flip side is that it’s easier to reconnect than to rely on building new relationships. The benefit of being on the tail end of relationships, as I’ve discovered in the past two months, is that that other 90% has already been invested. You know people. They know you.
Still, it’s almost magical to learn that Regina Patton has likely been on six, if not, seven continents. That Stanley Holmes is deep on these cases between the black community and the police. To find out that two friends (Eric Driskell and Kevin Benard), live minutes from each other in CO and are still together, in a sense. That Larry Lock can’t even remember the falling out from so long ago that I’ve carried with me all these years. To talk to Kathy Rose the person rather than just look at her FB updates. Learning that Vanessa Johnson had the courage to return home (see #1 above).
I have enjoyed my time with these people and look forward to reconnecting with others throughout 2017!