It’s another gloomy day. Where the hell is Spring??? I have a cold. The day is stretching out unpleasantly in front of me. And I just RSVPd to a party for my 20th high school reunion.

Looking at the list of who’s coming I was hit by all the wonderful and awful memories of middle and high school. The sense of bullet-proof unstopability simultaneous with this total powerlessness and dread. The names include people who I desperately longed to be like, who I desperately longed to like me (“like” being euphamistic, in the second case, for lust), and who I took totally for granted. There are also a lot of blissfully happy memories. On a day like today, I guess, somehow that sense of the totally open road is eclipsed by the memories of loneliness and loss.

My best friends in high school were the theater geeks. We spelled it “theatre” because that was more sophisticated. I don’t know if we really thought we were cool, or if it was a booby prize because we weren’t as cool as the actually cool kids (all jocks, of course). Of course they were as busy working at being cool as we were working at being anticool. We were all furiously chasing after some image or other. What a colassal waste. I’m sure the institutions and cultures of American high schools has made the fortune of many a therapist. Maybe many an EQ consultant too.
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One surprise was seeing how many people are bringing their kids. My high school classmates are still frozen in my head as 18 year olds. How can they all have kids??? Oh. It’s 20 years later. Where did that all go?

Anyway, I’m looking forward to seeing if I can see these people as humans instead of as icons of what we wished to be. I suspect for all of us (well, most of us) we came to see those paper-doll cut-out figures were ultimately pretty empty.

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Joshua Freedman

Joshua is one of the world’s preeminent experts on developing emotional intelligence to create positive change. With warmth and authenticity, he translates leading-edge science into practical, applicable terms that improve the quality of relationships to unlock enduring success. Joshua leads the world’s largest network of emotional intelligence practitioners and researchers.
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