After a reunion, I’m happy that I can’t escape my past |

After a reunion, I’m happy that I can’t escape my past

Dale Shrull
Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO

Thirty years.

If I had better training in rudimentary mathematics I could tell you how many days that is.

Thirty years ago I graduated from high school.

A few weeks ago, the Class of 1978 gathered to reminisce, laugh, cry and hug ” big tight hugs that can only be fully appreciated by 30 years of adulthood and special memories of high school.

As I looked into the eyes of these men and women, I was astonished at how they haven’t changed. Sure, there was the gray hair or no hair, there were wrinkles and a few more pounds, but all I could see were the same boys and girls I roamed the halls with, played sports with and pieced together all those adolescent shenanigans with.

They all looked as I always remembered them. The same smiles, eyes, laughs and grins. The hugs were new ” of course we didn’t hug 30 years ago. We didn’t cry either. Not much anyway.

The splendid thing about a 30-year reunion is there’s none of the usual attempts to impress. Those days are gone.

Just like high school, we’ve outgrown those childish goals of trying to impress.

The greatest thing about high school and the impressions we all made during those times, is there’s no escaping them.

This Ain’t Vegas ” what happened in high school doesn’t stay in high school.

That’s why these classmates of mine will always remain classmates. They are dorks, athletes, geeks, stoners, rebels, jerks, girlfriends, dreamers and whatever you remember them as when we all were stuffed into a category or clique.

We all did things, said things, or left those impressions that will never vanish.

As I mingled with my classmates, 30 years suddenly seemed like two weeks ago. For the ones who attended, they had nothing to hide, and had everything to share.

For some, the ones who declined to come, maybe they were still trying to impress, or maybe they had things to hide. Those who still lived just a few miles away, or weren’t called away on other family business, I can’t understand why they couldn’t have found a few minutes to come and share a laugh and maybe a hug.

Say hi to the people who were such a large part of their lives at one time.

Doesn’t 30 years and all those memorable times of high school deserve that?

We’ve all matured ” some of us with still a little more development needed. We’ve all been humbled by life. That’s the great thing about life and having to work for what we’ve got. Most of us have never seen the silver spoon, or taken over our dad’s business. Most of us have been knocked down, kicked around and gotten up. Gotten up more than once, gotten up and worked harder to overcome.

For me, I can’t help but look at my classmates and smile. They helped me grow and overcome. They were part of my life during its most impressionable time. Even if they weren’t in my life, they still had something to do with my journey through adulthood.

I look back at some of my friends and wondered why I even associated with them. And others I wonder why we never were closer back then.

Talking to these men and woman, I was so impressed at what they’ve accomplished with their lives. Not one of them hid their struggles. Husband number 3, got a DUI, a daughter who can’t stay out of trouble, a failed business …

It’s called life.

No one hid their past. And that’s because they aren’t ashamed of their past. This is what impressed me the most. It’s their life and they acknowledge that with good times, there’s also tough times that balance it out.

The bucket of mistakes and failures in my life has long been overflowing. But I finally learned that those mistakes were the key to helping me succeed.

Success is a word that can’t be defined by others for us. Success must be defined by the individual. Success might mean an enormous bank account to some. But for others, it’s a successful marriage, children, volunteer work, making a difference in the world.

Success is in the eye of the beholder.

I love how honest and genuine these classmates were. They’re proud of who they are and where they stand today.

I hugged and shook hands with some tremendously successful people. And I was so proud to call them my friends. We all shared stories of our journey to our 30-year class reunion.

Every story included a rough stretch or many rough stretches. And, like me, those difficult times were the key to their successes.

After 30 years, it was so refreshing to see people who had nothing to hide and everything to share.

For one weekend we were indeed back in high school. There were laughs and shenanigans, but mostly there was catching up and remembering a time three decades ago. And what everyone has been up to since.

Thirty years. The number is like a jolt of electricity. Where did the years go?

Back in 1978, we didn’t have a clue. We had no idea what the real world had in store for us. Life has pounded on most of us with an unrelenting force.

And I think we all need to say thanks for that.

Life has weathered us, empowered us, strengthened us, and mostly it’s humbled us.

After 30 years, I’m humbled by life, and by these men and women from the Class of 1978. They are my friends and classmates.

And that will never change.

They say you can’t escape from your past.

For most of us in this Class of 1978, we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Dale Shrull is managing editor of the Post Independent.

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