A lotta lotta years ago, but after the end of Star Trek: TNG (this is a necessary qualifier and not just another nerdy Trek reference... well, and not JUST another nerdy Trek reference), I had this dream where I was walking through LAX, and from far across the terminal, I saw Jonathan Frakes walking towards me with this big grin. In the dream, we'd worked together on Star Trek. In the dream, I was so glad to see him. I was filled with a sense of pleasure and happiness at this meeting; consumed by an entirely comfortable joy at the prospect of reconnecting with my past; equally satisfied with both my past and present.
I woke up depressed. I couldn't think of anyone in my own life I'd have been so glad to see. It felt like most of what I'd done had been hallmarked by plodding effort and insincerity and it would be tedious and arduous to muster up that long since cast away persona. God, what would we have to talk about?
That dream has stayed with me. It seemed so sad that of all the people I've loved, I wasn't eager to run into any of them walking down the street. My own past was just too murky and disconnected to invite it into my present.
And then tonight. I was dining al fresco with LaneyBon, chatting about this and that, when a friend from way back in the day suddenly appeared at my side. And, what do you know? I was just as happy to see him in the waking world as I'd been to see Riker in my dream world. I was filled with this totally comfortable joy at the chance to reconnect, however briefly, with someone from back then.
I'm not sure what happened, what shifted. I suspect this is one of the happier circumstances of aging. It's easier to be who you are, generally less awkward. And you grow forgiving of any inauthenticity or discomfiture of the past. Because, after all, they were good days.
Aw, it was just so good to see my old friend. I hope I run into him again one day.