Thursday, August 13, 2009

Welcome Back to the Neighborhood, and...

A few weeks ago, there was a massive landing of Eagles in the Kansas City area for what was, literally, a week and a half of events. I missed most of them, but that's just my style. I didn't much hang out with my class when I was an underclassmen because I was playing varsity sports and letting the upperclass(wo)men pinch my cheeks at parties. And, when I was an upperclassman, I had my core group of cronies and didn't much expand beyond that group for activities aside from under-age drinking. Plus, when I graduated from high school, I left town and didn't return for almost 20 years.

My hindsight report:
  • Some of us changed; some of us didn't.
  • Some reverted to old roles; some just stayed in their mountainside holes.
... and some of us just came as someone else, showed up late and left early. I love ya, Eagles, but I need more personal connection than can be found in a room of 100 peeps. I'm not one to "be seen," I'd rather be enjoyed while I enjoy the you that you've become.

But, what I'm here to discuss is reversion or digression, whatever you'd like to call it. It was fascinating to see us re-assume our old roles in our conversations. I'm not here to say that we dusted off the clothes of the enforcer, the thief, the kind-heart and the smart but we definitely smelled of their essence. We'd talk and I'd wait for a prime moment, while everyone was listening, to chime in. The thief would talk of his conquests. The kind-heart would laugh gullibly, but sincerely. And, the enforcer would talk of his confident actions. We played our roles well, it was good to be them again to relive the past and talk of the future.

The question is, did we revert or have these roles always been there?

It felt odd to me, as if I did revert back to trying to be a little more cool than I really am. Hey, I have conquests, too. Hey, I have plans, too. But that's never been my style. Just hasn't. I think everyone just assumed that I'd done everything that I set out to do... and I have, aside from some very big goals that are so close that I can almost touch them.

It wasn't clear to me whether we revert or embody until I saw a role a few days later that I hadn't seen in all of the previous encounters of the reunion days; the role of the fool. When the fool presented himself, it was obvious that we are who we were. That's not to say that the fool is still doing the same foolish things that he did 20 years ago (well, in this case, maybe he is). However, it's not to say that the enforcer is still a physical enforcer, he's forcing the world to bend to his dreams. It's not to say the thief is still jacking cars, he's sly in his manner of business networking and getting people connected. And the kind-heart, unfortunately, the kind-heart is punishing himself for things that were never his fault.

I believe, to some degree, we've changed, but we are still who we were... and, for those who've asked, I've no desire to go back, even if I could take my smarts with me.