Thinking about a life not lived…

I’m attending my 50th high school reunion in September. One is given pause to reflect on a life lived since high school, especially since the organizing committee had ask for a write-up about what you’ve been doing since high school. That was a daunting task – trying to summarize a life lived in a page or two.

I got to tell my stories of going off to college, meeting and wedding the love of my life, going off to exotic places (Iran) and dangerous places (Viet Nam), having children and a career in business, living in several states and finally settling in to Milford for a great life in the Village of Milford.

Recently I got an email from the reunion organizers listing people from our class that they could not locate and people that have died.  Sadly, my best friend from high school was among those listed as deceased. I was really sorry to hear that, since I was looking forward to talking with him about his life. I went off to college at the University of Illinois and he, on a full-ride scholarship headed off to Harvard. I only saw him briefly once after we both left, during the summer break between our freshman and sophomore years at college. He was struggling a bit with both the academic load and the fact that even having a full-tuition scholarship didn’t really cover the cost of going to Harvard. I guess I’ll never know how is life turned out, but he did live until a few years ago, so at least he had a life.

One of the other names that is on the deceased list was a guy I knew, but wasn’t really buds with in high school. From what I can tell he went off to Viet Nam and was an early casualty there. That started me thinking about the consequences of a life not lived. There was a romance and marriage that never took place and children that were not born. There was work that someone else did in his place, little league games that he didn’t get to attend,  a church pew just a little more empty because he was not there and so much more. Who can say for sure how his home town or state or even the nation might have been changed had he come home from that war. I suppose that the same “what if” thoughts can be had about any life that is cut short like that.

I’ve decided that I’ll not spend my time at the reunion guessing what might have been; there’s to much catching up to do on what actually was. I’ve been getting some indications from email and Facebook postings about the lives of some of my old friends from High School. Of course, I’m sure that none of our teachers from that era remain alive; which is a shame, since it would be nice to go back and thanks them for the start they gave me.  I’ll post again after the event to let you know how it went.

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