I am working out at a new gym this week and I received quite the surprise this morning. As I was about to march off to the cardio section of this particular north Spokane gym, I heard someone call out my name.
“Hey, Brent Reser?”
My direction turned to the man who said my name. We had entered the gym around the same time and I had definitely noticed him but didn’t think there was any connection as he was wearing a hat and we were both focused on our workouts. But as I gazed over at him with a slightly puzzled look, he ended the mystery by quickly identifying himself. It was my high school assistant principal!
We took just a couple minutes to catch up but it was really nice to see him after so many years. It also helped that he told me I didn’t look much older since the day I graduated high school (yeah right! 😂).
Since moving back to my hometown three years ago, I can say that it has been such a joy re-connecting with people from my childhood and teen years. To be honest, when I returned to Spokane in 2020 after 15 years away, I thought it might be awkward to see people who I last saw a decade and a half ago. However, I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Over the past few years, I have run into old friends and acquaintances at the store, community events, and the park. I have also bumped into blasts from the past under more unique circumstances. For example, on Halloween when I was passing out candy at my parents’ house, an old classmate brought his child to the door. Last weekend at the wedding I attended, the photographer was an old elementary school friend. And then of course this morning I chatted with my high school principal as we pumped iron.
Each time I have engaged with someone after not seeing them for 15 years or more, I have walked away feeling energized. It hasn’t been weird or uncomfortable but rather interesting and a little inspiring. No matter how small the role we had played in each other’s lives, we were able to recognize that history and celebrate it.
I didn’t attend my 10-year high school reunion because I was living on the east coast at the time. But even if geographic limitations didn’t factor into my absence, I don’t know if I would have attended. With my 20-year reunion just a couple years away, I am actually looking forward to it.
I feel fortunate to live in the area where I grew up and I have appreciated re-uniting with some of those people who I knew from my original/first stint in Spokane. It is important to embrace, not avoid, these opportunities. Don’t Blink.