My memories of high school and of my adolescence have changed over the years. I remember as a very young adult, being embarrassed at my adolescent immaturity. In most ways I was a square. It was not so much about whether I inhaled because I didn’t take drugs, smoke, or drink. Exhaling, however, was another matter. There were some not so bon mots that emerged from my big mouth. Over time, I came to appreciate that I was still pretty young with much to learn. That’s what youth is for, lots of rapid growth.

For a long time, I thought that high school, though not as horrendous as middle school, was pretty awful. Over the last two years, as I’ve reflected on my life in this blog, and further, as I’ve reconnected with old friends, I’ve questioned the accuracy of my recollection. Maybe it wasn’t so bad.

Memory is dynamic. It changes over time and I’m not just talking about the decay of memory. We also add information, without even realizing it. Our current state of mind also impacts what we remember and how we remember it. Imagine how this impacts our memory as we reflect time and time again about different events in our lives. It is a process that may or may not increase the accuracy of our memory but nonetheless solidifies our confidence in the correctness of recollection.

On Friday night, I attended my 30th high school reunion. I was on the reunion committee this time and I was in charge of the Facebook page for the reunion. It put me in the role of interacting with a wide number and variety of former classmates, not just the ones with whom I was friends.

By and large, it was a really fun thing to do. There are a number of interesting and kind people with whom I had the privilege of interacting in the months leading up to the reunion.

I received a lot of positive feedback for being active and inclusive in my handling of the Facebook page. It was gratifying because I worked very hard to do just that. And at the reunion a surprisingly big cheer emerged from the crowd when my name was announced as a member of the reunion committee.

People appeared to enjoy themselves a good deal last Friday. As the ”voice” of our reunion, I got more credit than I deserved for its success. A lot of people worked very hard on it, they just did so mostly behind the scenes.

The flip side of this is that by the next day, a few complaints started rolling in, some communicating privately and other posting publically.

I can’t speak for another person’s heart or mind, but a minority of the comments seemed rooted in pain from the past and negative memories of events from the past.

I attended my 20th reunion. At that time, I spent a lot of energy trying to remember everyone and our experiences. I was worried about people feeling forgotten and left out.

Something interesting happened this time, though. I  went to a large high school and was managing a Facebook group that contained nearly two-thirds of my graduating class. There was no way I was going to remember all of those people so I focussed a lot more on learning about people as they currently are.

I found that this helped me reconnect with old friends at a somewhat deeper level and to make new friends with people with whom I shared a very important time of life, our childhood.

Today, I realize that this is something that my husband and I are trying to do. We started dating in our late adolescence and I have long believed that there is a residual of the tumultuous aspects of that time in our lives that carries forward continued challenges to our relationship.

Added to that, my cancer was scary and confusing. When I am disoriented, I deal with the lack of a coherent knowledge of reality by using my memories, even for mundane daily events, as milemarkers in my life, in order to regain my footing and direction. John and I, however remember daily events quite differently.

This has led John and I to spend a lot of time arguing about differences in our memories for even daily logistics. This disorients me. It feels like being on different pages of different books written in different languages.

But when John and I talk about our current feelings instead of rehashing unpleasantness from the past, even the recent past, we almost always connect at a deep level.

History is always important. Often it is important to reflect upon the past, even the painful past, in order to grow. I am learning more and more, however, to identify the times when this is not the case.

Sometimes in order to be on the same page of the same book, we have to put the book aside and talk to eachother