Friday night was my high school’s annual beefsteak dinner. For years they have held it and for years I ignored it. Not that I had a bad relationship with the school. In fact I carved out a nice niche, balancing being liked by most, a part-time ballplayer who pitched decently for some really good and really bad teams, pulled in average grades but loved jokes and pranks. Yet when high school was over I was sick of my school. I swore up and down I would never give back to it and instead turned my back on it. The hatred stemmed from immaturity and stupidity but I didn’t know it at the time. I was a cocky college kid. Years went by and then something happened. I grew up.
In this century I started to realize and appreciate what my school brought to my life. How it shaped me. Taught me to stand up for myself. Learn that I can’t please anyone and that hard work did lead to something good and being a slacker only hurt yourself. More of my personality became defined in high school which is a reflection of the man I am today.
Being amongst old classmates and friends, people who knew me as Rajesh and not Raj, I was spending time with people who knew me during those awkward/angst-ridden teenage years. They knew the guy I was and now saw the man I am. Some things were different but there was also parts of me that remained the same. I’m older, a little grey around the temple and not much difference in appearance to others there. We were all older, some more mileage on our bodies and livers but for one night we were back in time. We celebrated life and our friendship amongst beefsteak and beers. Twenty-Two years after we stepped out of the school for what we thought was the last time, we were back for this night. It is a night that will become an annual tradition for me.
Originally this was supposed to be a blog entry about another type of realization I had during that night but instead my heart and fingers composed the above. My next entry will be strictly from my mind.