[COLUMN] Ride the blast from the past

Forget the past and fully live in the moment. Why? It is because life is just too short. Or so they say.

I say we still ought to make time for the past.  Whether we like it or not, the past is a big part of who we have become. At some point, it may be worth our while to back track and come full circle just before the end game is in sight.

So the next time you get an invitation to a reunion, GO. High school and college reunions are compelling reasons to go back and ride the blast from the past. Take the ride because it may never come again. Life is not only short. It is unpredictable as well.

You have been too busy building a career, raising a family and have become so engaged with the nitty gritty to bother about such things as reunions. No you’re not indifferent nor have you become snotty nor too big for your britches that you can’t be bothered. At any rate, there is nothing in this world to make anyone feel like a puffed up toad and think he or she is better than anyone else. Life has a way of cutting back to size any show of hubris and arrogance.

So what is your excuse for ducking reunions? In truth, you may just have too much on your plate for far too long. But this time around, you have to make time because there might never be a next time. And you may just miss out on one of the grandest rides of your lifetime.

There’s an upside to finally letting the past catch up with us. We get perspective. We hear life stories. Some are compelling while others are cautionary, sad tales. And if reunions really serve their purpose, we come out of the experience happy. We have checked off one item from our bucket list. You may come out humbled by the experience of living this long and having walked this journey with classmates who, in all likelihood, come from a similar background and are cut from the same cloth. You feel you have been blessed abundantly along with your contemporaries having made it this far.

Someone said that reunions are like masquerade balls. Many try to hide the scars of living behind a mask. Like postings on social media, we all try to present to the world the best versions of our photoshopped images. If that is the case, so be it.

There is great fun and sidesplitting humor at reunions and celebrations of this sort. We see the same people and notice that they have changed very little from what you perceived them to be so many years ago.

Then there are the few swan like characters that truly evolved from the gawky, awkward phases of youth — truly beautiful inside and out. There are the class clowns. They are still funny, still the center of attention with the same mannerisms and facial expressions as we reminisce with great fondness and hilarity the antics and practical jokes they pulled on their classmates. And then, there are the quiet, deep ones, still staying in the background and taking it all in. It’s a menagerie of characters, a few of whom, you may want to be friends with spanning time and distance.

The memories come gushing forth with shocking clarity as we dust off  the cobwebs from our memory banks and dig up photos and put them on social media —a  before and after, side to side comparison in reverse, from the once great to “Whatever happened???” Hmmm, I am not sure the results would please many.

Oh, if we can only read the thought bubbles that float around during reunions! If you were psychic or a passably good mind reader, you can read what they really mean when they effusively say, largely out of well-meaning kindness, of how great you look. Okay just for the night we will be suckers for compliments, we will take it even if it is a polite white lie.

We look at the adolescent crushes we had many moons ago and for which we kept quiet at the time for fear of ridicule and embarrassment and we see them now with fresh eyes, a far cry from our teenage ideas of  “cute” and say to ourselves, “Girl, what in heaven’s name were you thinking?”

Well, turnabout is fair play. The guys are probably thinking the same thing about you. For as nature would have it, the lean and scrawny spring chickens of the past have grown to mature Rhode Island Reds, meatier, heavier and may even waddle around like ducks. ROTFLOL!!!

This is where the laugh track comes in. If we have become truly wise over the years, many of us know without a doubt that our great sense of humor and more importantly, our unflinching faith in the goodness of God and the people who love us, got us this far. No one really gets far without great help.

We all know, even without the details that each one’s life is fraught    with joy and beauty mixed with the untold tales of struggles, challenges and problems that tend to overwhelm. No one is spared the latter.

Life can be an equal opportunity tormentor. Very few have charmed lives. It is how we deal with what life throws at us that define who we are at this moment in time. These twists, turns and blows every life goes through shape and mold us as they structure and restructure our innards. Somehow, if these don’t break us, they only make us stronger, more pliable and in the end, victorious. Yes, you can say you have arrived.

We are still students of life learning from one another as we laugh and compare notes, celebrating moments and grieving quietly at times. Mark my words, there will be a lot of humble bragging. Don’t get annoyed. It is part of reunions. We let people take a bow or take a victory lap. We are each a built-in audience for each other. We still need each other’s approbation. And if we have truly grown through the years, we are now big-hearted and generous with praise.

Reunions allow us to reconnect with those we chanced to walk with years ago when life was lighter, simpler and the sound of youthful laughter resonated in our hearts. Someday, hopefully in the far future, if we are so blessed, we can be reunited once again, perhaps in another lighter, gravity-defying dimension. May I suggest heaven?

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The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the Asian Journal, its management, editorial board and staff.

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Nota Bene: Monette Adeva Maglaya writes for

Asian Journal. To send comments, e-mail [email protected]


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