This summer/autumn I have been particularly lucky to reconnect with people who I haven't seen for years. I don't know what it is, but the stars must have suddenly aligned. It's not just one particular set of people either. I’ve been lucky enough to meet up with some people I knew in high school (and not just people who graduated with me), college and relatives from as far away as Australia. It's been a truly wonderful experience.
These meetings "forced" me (in a good way) to get out of my comfort zone. Something that we should all do more often. They weren't always convenient with my "regular" daily schedule. But for once, I threw the same routine out the window. I put away any preconceived notions and just got to know these people as they are. (As opposed to how I once might have imagined them.) Time that I thought might be dull and boring, were fascinating. The time flew by. With every meeting, I wished for more time.
Nowhere was this more evident than a "reunion" I attended just last weekend. What started out as a gathering of people who participated in the music program at my high school evolved into a pre-party gathering of a few people on Friday night, an INCREDIBLE party on Saturday night (you know it's a good party when the venue is clearing the tables and closing things down and you suddenly realize that you were so busy talking and laughing that you never actually sat down and ate dinner) AND another informal gathering Sunday afternoon at the high school during the annual band competition. As far as parties go, I will outright say that it was one of the BEST times I have ever had. I forgot about my troubles and laughed, danced, shared stories and wished the night (and the weekend) would never end. It is a testament to the people who arranged and organized the reunion that EVERYONE had a good time. That EVERYONE wants to do it again...and on a larger scale. I was able to reconnect with people who I hadn't seen in decades. People who were ahead of me in high school and people who were behind me. People who knew my brother and took the time to say a few words about him to me. (My brother was also in the band, but several years after I had graduated.) If I had NOT gone; if I had NOT reconnected, I would have missed out on one of the highlights of my year (if not of the decade...maybe even of my life.)
I can't imagine what it would have been like if I stayed stuck in my rut. If I didn't get out of my comfort zone. I've been reminded that people are people. And just because we aren't from the same place or have the same background, doesn't mean we can't fascinate one another. It doesn't mean we can't be friends just because we have different political or social beliefs. As a matter of fact, I found out that I had more in common with the people I didn't think I had anything in common with. (How's that for a mouthful?)
If you have the chance, reconnect. Or maybe just connect...with that person who sits next to you on the bus, the crossing guard you see every day on your morning walk, or the woman who checks you out at the supermarket. Reach out to that friend you haven't spoken with or seen for 5, 10 or even more years. It could turn out to be an experience that could change your life and warm your heart.