Posts Tagged With: high school reunion

Day 205: Missing People

One thing I’ve learned doing therapy groups for over thirteen years:

I (and other people) often struggle balancing the focus on (1) people who are present and (2) people who are missing.

And people often are missing, at any group meeting.

I often name that — in any group therapy session where people who are expected aren’t there. I’ll say group-therapy-type things like, “I’m aware that so-and-so is not here. I’m also very aware of everybody who is here, and wondering how the absence is affecting you.”

I try not to have assumptions about how an absence affects others. I know it affects different people in different ways. But I know it has some effect.

Everything has some effect. And people who are missing can have a big effect.

Those of us who are present at the meeting often don’t know where the missing people are. And we want to know where people — and things — are. (See here, for George Carlin’s amazing take on losing Things.) We don’t want lose track of them.

Sometimes, when people are missing, it speaks to our fears about them. Why aren’t they here? Are they okay?

Sometimes, when people are missing, it speaks to our fears about ourselves. Are they missing because I — and this gathering — were not important enough to them?

Sometimes we’re angry at the people who aren’t there. Why didn’t they let us know? I made the effort to be here, why couldn’t they?

This topic is on my mind, today, because I do groups, every week, where somebody is sometimes missing.

Plus, I went to a high school reunion, on Saturday, where people were missing, too.

At the reunion, some people who were definitely expected were not there. For some of those people, I knew the reasons why they weren’t there. For others, we had no idea why they were missing (to some of those people, I’ve since sent the question, “Are you okay?”)

Also, there were the people who were missing from my high school reunion for a reason we knew: they had passed away.

As one of the planners of the reunion, I found out about some of the people from my class who have died as I was trying to contact people.

I confess: that was one reason I sometimes procrastinated contacting people, for fear of what I might hear about them.

And at the reunion, as in my therapy groups, I struggled balancing my focus on the people who were there with the people who weren’t.

Here are the people who were there:

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Here are some of the people who weren’t there, RIP:

Marie Bilodeau

Sheila Burns

Chester Caldwell

Maryann Caproni

Sandra Cross

Louis Defelice

John Espinola

Cheryl Freedman

Alexander Fried

Herbert Garrette

Chris Janakas

Robert Myers

Melissa Newman

Donna Riddell

Jamie Solomson

Maureen Thompson

Anne Townsend

Christian Zahr

Why am I including this list of people on this blog, where the vast majority of readers do not know them? Why am I being so careful to spell their names correctly? Why am I afraid I am forgetting somebody?

Because people are very important. Even when they’re not in touch with how important they are.

That reminds me of the one point I wanted to make before I finish this post (and get to work on time so I can do another group) (where some people will be present and some people will not).

When people aren’t at a group, where they are expected, it has a huge effect on the people who are there. I see it, every time.

And the people who aren’t there don’t know that. How could they? They’re not there.

One final reference before I stop, for the day. My friend Janet, from Film School, loves this movie:

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I know a lot of other people who love this movie, too. I’m glad that Jimmy Stewart, in that movie, had that special and magical experience: He found out how much he was missed, when he wasn’t there.

Many thanks to all from my high school class (who were at the reunion and who was not), Janet, George Carlin, Frank Capra, and all of you, here today.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Day 203: Will

The topic for today is the word “will.”

I had many choices from the Google Buffet of Definitions, this morning. I chose the following, from the Merriam Webster site:

will   noun     \ˈwil\

1. : desire, wish: as

a : disposition, inclination <where there’s a will there’s a way>

b : appetite, passion

c : choice, determination

2

a : something desired; especially : a choice or determination of one having authority or power

b (1) archaic : request, command (2) [from the phrase our will is which introduces it] : the part of a summons expressing a royal command

3 : the act, process, or experience of willing : volition
4

a : mental powers manifested as wishing, choosing, desiring, or intending

b : a disposition to act according to principles or ends

c : the collective desire of a group <the will of the people>

5 : the power of control over one’s own actions or emotions <a man of iron will>

6: a legal declaration of a person’s wishes regarding the disposal of his or her property or estate after death; especially : a written instrument legally executed by which a person makes disposition of his or her estate to take effect after death

— at will
: as one wishes : as or when it pleases or suits oneself

A few random thoughts, about all that (accompanied by my friend, Google Images):

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In a previous (personal favorite) post here,  I wrote about To Do Lists.

Something that’s been on my To Do List, for a very long time?

Image

That kind of will.

Also, on my To Do List, for a shorter time, a different kind of will:

Image

A Living Will (which is not included in the Merriam Webster definitions) is defined as

A document in which the signer states his or her wishes regarding medical treatment, especially treatment that sustains or prolongs life by extraordinary means, for use if the signer becomes mentally incompetent or unable to communicate.

Hmmmm. I wonder why I’ve been avoiding completing both of those kinds of wills — The Last Will and Testament and The Living Will.

I repeat, hmmmmm.

Should I label myself “A Procrastinator?”  Would that help?

Nah.

Should I ask you, readers, if you might resist taking care of those kinds of wills?  Should I ask if you’ve encountered other people, in your life,  who have resisted taking care of those sorts of things, and the effect that has had on you?

Sure! I love asking questions like that.  Feel free to answer.

But ultimately, what would give me the will to just get those things done?

I can tell you three things that will help me take an achievable step, on Day 202, of This Year of Living Non-Judgmentally:

  1. Having just attended a 43rd year high school reunion.
  2. Identifying that achievable next step (calling a lawyer, whom I’ve identified, also).
  3. Remembering a “cliche” that my mother used to say a lot:

Where there’s a will there’s a way

(quoted in definition #1a, above).

That concludes today’s blog post, everybody.  Thanks for having the will to read, wherever you are.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Day 202: Looks

I went to my 43rd high school reunion last night.

Here are some random thoughts about that.

When I entered junior high school (from a really small, religion-based elementary school), I knew very few of the over 200 people in my new class.

I started junior high school the year after my whole world turned around — when I had my first cardiac pacemaker implanted (on the same day that John F. Kennedy was shot, which turned everybody else’s world around, too).

I didn’t know many people in my 7th grade class. Nevertheless, I remember being happy to be entering that big world of more diverse, interesting people. I remember observing people, with fascination and with gratitude to be there among them.

It felt like an adventure and a relief, in a way.

Some people were kinder than others back then. 13-year-old kids aren’t very far along in the process of developing empathy to others. (Developing empathy is a growth process in human beings, which sometimes gets short circuited by unfortunate circumstances.)

But for the most part, I remember a lot of people who showed kindness to me. And I could have been a prime target for bullying — (1) I was unfamiliar to lots of people and (2) I had a medical condition that a lot of people knew about. (Because cardiac pacemakers were so new, and because the one I had implanted was so big and stuck so far out, the doctors thought I needed to wear a brace and leave early from class, with somebody carrying my books for me.)

But I only got bullied by one person and it was pretty mild (even though I did witness, at times, other people getting bullied worse, which was awful).

I had a lot of great experiences, learning to know the people in the class, as we grew from ages 13 through 18.

One thing I remember feeling bad about for most of those years of junior high and high school?

My looks.

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Not sure why I felt so bad, in retrospect. Actually, I can guess:

  • I didn’t look like the models of good looks I saw everywhere in the media.
  • The guys in junior high and high school didn’t seem interested in me, that way.
  • I had this weird pacemaker sticking out of my body, which affected how I felt about myself.

Last night, at the reunion, some of the guys told me that they were interested in me, back then.

Why didn’t they let me know when we were in school together?

Because they thought I wouldn’t go out with them. They had lots of reasons why they thought I might reject THEM. I was very surprised to hear that.

I think a lot of people hear stories like that — and other surprising stories — when they go to a reunion.

That’s the end of the blog post for today, ladies and gentlemen.

Thanks to people from my high school, everybody who ever felt insecure in school, and — if that doesn’t cover everybody reading today — the rest of you, too.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Day 200: Signs

Sometimes —  especially when I’m experiencing “flow,” synchronicity, or other forms of connection and openness to living — I see signs.

By “signs,” I mean helpful indications of things to pay attention to.

Four examples of signs, according to Google Images:

traffic-signs

road-signs-and-meanings-AT-3

signlanguageabc

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.

Two examples of signs, according to me:

Sign:  It’s too friggin’ hot around here.

Possible meanings, reasons, things to pay attention to:

1.   Global warming.

Depending upon where you live, global warming is either (1) controversial or (2) completely non-controversial.

That about covers it, doesn’t it?

2. Maybe I really should consider moving.

Where I live, it’s Painful-Cold for many months of winter and Painful-Hot for many days of summer. This leads to helpful people giving this advice:  “Think about how cold it gets here during winter and get in touch with gratitude for the heat now.” (These are the same helpful people who say the reverse, during winter .)

How about getting in touch with this?

I’M LIVING IN A PLACE WHERE I’M IN PAIN, ABOUT HALF THE TIME.

Who deserves that?  Not I, said the little red hen.    Hen

Second Sign: I’m having trouble sleeping.

Possible reasons and things to pay attention to:

1.  I have a lot of things to do.

2.  There are some people I’m going to see, this weekend, whom I haven’t seen in a while, and I’m excited about that.

3.  As my mother used to say (about me and then, my son), “You don’t want to miss anything.”

4. I can be afraid of things that don’t actually exist. Or, if they do exist, they’re not as dangerous as they seem.

5.  It’s too friggin’ hot around here.

Thanks for going around with me today. It’s a good sign (according to me).

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Day 64: You never know where your day is going to end up

This is going to be a short post because I had a very long day.

And all I want to say today is how my day started and how it ended.

My day started with my sobbing, before I left for work, because I had allowed myself to get in touch with some fears about my health, which I had never really allowed myself to feel before. These fears were a collection of old fears from my childhood and some current fears that I do need to live with, but often deny and suppress. And this morning, because I was talking about these fears to somebody I trust, I allowed myself to feel the fears in a new, very primal way.

And I sobbed.

Then I went to work and lots of things happened.

Then, tonight, I went to a meeting to start planning a high school reunion.  I traveled about 20 miles and about 45 years back in time, to meet with some people with whom I spent several formative years, but whom I have not seen for quite a while.  When I was traveling those 20 miles to the meeting — and because the memories of the past were right there — I had some fears about that meeting. I thought that perhaps these people at the meeting might have judged me in high school and might also judge me tonight.

(I mean, this may be the Year of Living Non-Judgmentally, but we’re talking High School, for cripe’s sake!)

But when I got to the meeting, I realized that everybody there wanted to be there because they felt an urge to reconnect.   And people were as kind as could be to me.

And I was happy to be there with them and to start planning our high school reunion, together.

So, dear reader, that was how my day started and how my day ended.

And I’m happy to be here, now, too.  Thanks for reading.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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