Pool. Food. Drinks. Old jokes and old funny stories. These were the highlights of my Saturday night. I was with a group of familiar faces, those I've known for more than a decade. Yet a part of me said they're strangers to me. I knew their names but I didn't know who they were.
After having no Facebook identity for years, something came over me and I created a new Facebook account early this year. In some weird coincidence, a former high school classmate "stumbled" upon my newly created account, sent me a friend request, and a stream of friend requests from our other high school classmates soon followed.
That led to a reunion with two of my former classmates who I had no contact with for years. We set up a rendezvous and caught up with each other's lives in one night. That was followed with several nights of catching up with other people from high school. A day turned into weeks, weeks turned into months. Those months turned into a gathering by the pool under the moon with a toddler in tow. And there I was, who believed I had completely shed my past away.
I was wrong.
I'm not a past person. It's nice to be nostalgic but I avoid it. I prefer motion. I'm a HERE AND NOW individual. When people drop off my life, some of them become strangers. You want to walk out that door? I will hold it open for you. Time for our paths to go their separate ways? Adios amigo, until we meet again (if ever that happens)! That's my philosophy in life. Swim along the river or stay still going nowhere.
I still remain true to that value.
But something has changed.
I do not have an aversion to change, the kind that teaches you and makes you grow.
While I sat around the table eating brazo de mercedes, my high school mates telling stories, I could not help ponder that these people weren't really my friends way back then. I was an independent student who made friends with other students from different groups, refusing to confine myself in a single clique. I eventually got out of touch with them over the years focusing my energy in the people who were currently in my life instead. It was the price to pay for the HERE AND NOW way of living.
But there was a loophole in the HERE AND NOW.
HERE AND NOW brought me to people that had ties with my THERE AND THEN. I was HERE AND NOW with the THERE AND THEN. And there was no running from it.
It was time for a change so I embraced it.
Those old faces weren't interested in my THERE AND THEN. They cared for my HERE AND NOW. Whatever we were in the past were just merely figments of our memories now, perhaps something to laugh or poke fun at. Throughout the time we spent together since reuniting early this year, I discovered that they liked me for what I am today. Our old selves were strangers to each other; our present selves are friends. To be judged for who you are today over the past was very comforting.
Something, again, came over me - I will be afraid of the past no more.
Sure, our pasts are littered with mistakes and failures, and even of things we can never be proud of. But not everyone remains the same. Some of us grow out of our history too, becoming strangers to our old selves. You want to talk about my old self? Go ahead and find him. Good luck to you mate!
I jumped into the pool with old faces but new friends. My HERE AND NOW body immersed in the chlorinated water of the THERE AND THEN. When I went home after our event, I noticed my face never looked the same again.
Cover image: 2012 international swim meet [Image 8 of 13] by DVIDSHUB