Last night, for my school's 65th anniversary and my own personal 40th reunion, I went to Ganesha High's homecoming game. I did better than I thought – made it 15 minutes into the first quarter before I left.
I wrote a long, self-indulgent essay about the whole thing; then I hit the delete key. I may be nothing more than a collective of neuroses wearing a skinsuit, but Facebook doesn't need irrefutable proof.
An old trope goes like this: Adult you gets to go back and talk to your younger self. You tell him/her/zir it'll be OK, stuff's going to turn out just fine, whatever.
That's not what I'd say. At all.
I'd say it all leaves a mark.
The first kiss. The first breakup. The first time they clap. The first time they mock. The first time you get a glimpse of who you are and who you'll become.
It all leaves a mark.
What nobody tells you? The marks – a smudgy, low-rent emotional tattoo – are what stick with you. Not the experience; what you choose to hold onto from it.
I'd tell young Greg those marks turn to scar tissue if you don't work at 'em early and often.
He'd probably reply that the past is a foreign country, and ignore me. He was a smug little fucker.