Friends from the Past…

“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” – Søren Kierkegaard

Today has been one for reflecting.  More specifically, I have been reflecting on the friends I had growing up.  I always felt like I never really belonged.  The fact is that I had a few friends that understood that fact and loved and accepted me anyway.

I was going through a box today so that I could feel productive on my non-work day.  Well, it was filled with momentos from my middle school and high school days.  It was kind of a surreal series of moments as I read notes that my friends had written me and looked at photos.  There are so many moments that happened that I had forgotten.  That is normal, I think.  People grow up and we take our unique experiences with us to make our now.  Eventually that “now” becomes the new past that we compartmentalize and use for the new now, aka – the future.


Toni and Andrea - middle school

Toni and Andrea – middle school

I read notes from my best friend during middle school where she was concerned about getting 50 cents to pay a fine so she could go on a school trip.  She also signed the letter “Rea” – I chuckled as I read her sign-off.  We remained friends throughout middle and high school.  We talked on and off throughout our college years but I rarely talk to her now.  We grew apart during high school.  The things that were important to me were not to her and vice-versa.  I became much more involved in my music and she in sports.  Looking back now, I see how natural and organic the evolution of that friendship.  People grow and develop and sometimes that takes them away from each other – even if they never thought that possible as kids.

Toni and Andrea- High School Graduation, 2001

Toni and Andrea- High School Graduation, 2001



Jeff and Toni - High School Graduation

Jeff and Toni – High School Graduation

I also read notes from a couple friends that I had during high school.  I really cannot say that I had very close friendships with anyone in high school.  I had a couple people that I trusted but I was more a loner than I even realized.  As a sophomore, I apparently was upset with my friend Jeff.  I read a  note from him today where he writes how he was not sure what he had done to make me hate him.  I have no recollection of that.  We apparently got over that bump and he became one of my closest friends during my last couple years of high school.  I read another note from him of pure encouragement.  I had a bad experience at a festival and was ready to give up on all things musical and he talked me back from that ledge.  For that alone, I will forever be grateful to him.  I have not talked to him much over the last five years.  Again, a natural evolution to a friendship.

So, while I try to keep living in my “now,” I can be exceptionally grateful for the past that I lived.  I had friends that dealt with my “madness” that has been with me for most of my life.  I look to my past and it begins to make sense – much more than it did when it was my “now.”  Life is not static.  It changes and evolves and that is normal and I embrace the change.  I am who I am partly because of the friends that I made and the support and encouragement they gave me then and continue to give me now – if only every five years or so!

“My past has not defined me, destroyed me, deterred me, or defeated me; it has only strengthened me.” – Steve Maraboli

Disneyland Group

High School Band Friends at Disneyland, 2001


Peace and Love,

The Mad Pianist