"If you're going through hell, keep going." I always loved that quote from Winston Churchill, it's so applicable to life no matter how old we are.
As you may or may not know, The 13th Hour is about a man stepping back in time in one hour increments to find the single moment that will save his wife from death.
So, ironically, this past weekend, I stepped back in time not in one hour increments but by decades.
I had my high school reunion (not saying which year but be it suffice to say it was more than 20). I walked in without expectation and walked out four hours later with one of the life's greatest experiences. Passing through the doorway into the reunion was like falling through a time machine, years washed away. No matter how much we had changed, all were recognizable. While hairstyles were different, not only in color but in volume, and gravity had tugged on the body and heart, it was the eyes that gave immediate recognition, that pulled back the curtain to reveal the friend we hadn't seen in ages.
While most would assume the reunion was the recapturing of youth, reliving those moments of teen success and conquests, it was something far more. I realized what an amazing town I grew up in, what an amazing school and time, and what amazing people I shared part of my life with.
In our youth, in what was a different era, we didn't' t know what someone else's father did for a living, could care less who had a car and who took the bus. We weren't cognisant of each other's religious or political beliefs. We judged each other by the simple barometer of either like or dislike. Of course there were cliques at Byram Hills as there are in all schools then and now, but those, along with the years, seemed to wash away with the passage of time.
We tend to romanticize the past particularly our teens, often forgetting the youthful pressures of fitting in, of tests, of making the team, or the heart break of first love. But it's the people who surrounded us at the time of growing up, our friends who helped us endure those obstacles that made us survive the passage into adulthood. These were the people we walked through hell with. These were the people that saw us in our most vulnerable moments. As such, bonds were made over those shared experiences that connect to this day and tie us back to that special time where hope abounded, where we thought ourselves invincible, immortal, where the future was always bright no matter how dark the day, no matter how painful the problem.
And while I wished our get together would have lasted a few more days, and we all made promises to stay in touch, we all walked away knowing we would be pulled back to the future, back to our current lives where we would disappear for another five years. But I think we all left that reunion with a new sense of appreciation, a new bond over a new shared experience. I think we all walked out of there with a bit of recaptured youth and hope and love.
Not to mention, for me at least, the incredible characters and story arcs to draw from for a future story or two.