In her book, “You Don’t Look Buddhist”, Sylvia Boorstein shares, “Some of my most precious moments of insight have been those in which I have seen clearly that gratitude is the only possible response.”. This happened to me over the past few days, as I had the good fortune of reconnecting with a number of folks I grew up with. Thanks to the power of online, as well as some old-school, communication, about 40 people from the old neighborhood, gathered once again in the field by the creek.
After confirming who was who – it had been over 35 years since many of us had seen one another – we settled quickly down to catching up and storytelling. We were transported fully to the time when our lives were primarily consumed by free range exploration, disastrous near misses and the pain and glory of being a kid lucky enough to live on Middlefield Drive. Back then we had few conscious thoughts about the journey we were on; few insights into who we were, or were becoming.
One of the many upsides of getting older is that you have these opportunities to look back and, if you choose, enhance your understanding of yourself and others through the retelling of personal and shared experiences. I heard accounts of things that happened that I am certain I was totally unaware of back in the day. Memories shift and realign, and the exact details of ‘what really happened’ become less important. What was most present for me though, and I believe all who were there, were the feelings that arose during the ‘remembering’. Not all of these were pleasant either, and to hear my friends and family share the details of their own stories gave me insight into who they are now that felt like a gift.
So often we look at our younger years as a time of ‘development’ and our later years as a time of ‘decay’. Really? Sure it’s wonderful to recall those years when you could do a perfect cartwheel or pull from your memory banks all of the State capitals. But would you really exchange that for the wisdom you have accumulated over the miles you have walked to get to who you are now?