Another high school reunion planning meeting this week... I'd announce the precise anniversary, but really, it pains me.
Why is that? Why am I not totally comfortable with that multi-decade numeral?
Is it because I'm alarmed by the age at which it places me? (Let's just say I'm in the throes of middle-age, but have not yet been the proud recipient of an AARP card.)
Is it because I'd thought I'd have accomplished more in the years since I've last seen these old friends and acquaintances? (I'm not on welfare, by any means, but I've also not yet managed my way onto the New York Times Bestseller List.)
Is it because I couldn't fit into my senior prom dress with a gallon of WD-40 and a giant shoe horn?
I'm still 16 in my heart and in my mind. My body, apparently though, is not a team player.
I doubt I am alone. I'm certain many of my old classmates are anticipating this event with the same combination of excitement and trepidation.
How much have each of us changed? How much have we remained the same? Either could be to our advantage, or could work against us. High school memories are entrapped in images of long ago. The pages of our yearbooks are preserved in perpetuity.
Will people still remember me by my legacy of "Best Sense of Humor" and "Best Party Giver?" If so, I may fail them, considering the best party I've given in the past 20 years entailed a small boy peeing his pants as he waited in line for his turn at the pinata.
My guess is that we've all evolved, while preserving a bit of our 17-year-old persona inside. I'd like to think I'm better off now than I was then. And that I'll look at my classmates at this reunion and say, "Wow! Look at you!"
Because, like Alice through the Looking Glass, we all have the chance to change yet. And whom we see today may be totally different than whom we view tomorrow.
Unlike Alice, no magic drink or pill will make the difference. Only years and personal experience and growth will morph us into someone new.
Are we happy with whom we are today? Perhaps it doesn't yet matter. Because when we peer into that looking glass, it's reassuring to know we'll always have the power to alter the vision.