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Talking it over: 40 year later

Over the Hancock July 4 and All-School Reunion weekend, my high school graduating class held their 40 year reunion. We were joined by the class above us and below us for a wonderful get-together. I enjoyed visiting with as many of my high school friends as possible that night and throughout the weekend.

Later, as I reflected on these conversations, I was struck by how many challenges, successes and failures we have endured over these last 40 years. Each one had a story to tell and shared their history from the last four decades. I was impressed with how we have turned out, despite what life has dealt us.

We have faced life-threatening illnesses, the loss of people close to us, changes in jobs, locations and marital status, overcome addictions, fought through abuse, accepted change yet kept our personalities, goals and humor intact. It hasn't always been easy, but with each story I heard, I also felt the strength and pride that came with overcoming these challenges.

Some of the stories dealt with the loss of loved ones. At our age, most of us have lost at least one of our parents and helped them through difficult health issues. Some have also lost a spouse, children, brothers, sisters, and other family members. Nearly everyone has had to accept the death of someone close to them and come through stronger as a result.

Many of us are also facing our own health issues. I learned about hip and knee replacements, shoulder and back surgeries, and new illnesses coming on as we age. It is a sign that we will soon become the older generation.

Though it all, we have survived and grown. Despite the problems, I was also thrilled to hear the stories of success. In our midst were some retirees, proud parents and grandparents, loving couples and devoted workers. We also had a few who took on new challenges with age like riding motorcycle, traveling extensively, doing things they were never able to do before or just plain downsizing their lifestyle. It was interesting to learn how each one felt the retirement years should be lived.

As we parted ways, promising to keep in touch, I wondered how many of us would be left to celebrate our 50 year class reunion. I also wondered how many additional challenges will be sent our way in the next ten years and how we will deal with them. Hopefully, we will all be here in 2022 and still able to have a good time and celebrate the great start we got at Hancock High School.