Many years ago, when our laws were different than now, I was surprised to learn that a life sentence was not really for life but only 20 years. After 20 years, everyone was eligible for parole and, unless they were flat-out psychotic, they routinely got it. But after thinking about it, it seemed very wise. None of us are the same after 20 years. A criminal at age 25 is a different person at age 45 (okay, maybe worse). A criminal at 45 is different at 65. Twenty years is life.
So here we are, two and a half lifetimes away from high school. No wonder we’ve changed.
But at our 50th reunion, I was not so sure. After all those years, we sure appeared the same. Art Mitchell’s goofy laugh, Audrey Lewis’ big smile, Mary Kay Abbot’s quiet dignity. (The big joke at the reunion was that no one recognized Art, but all he had to do was laugh and he was a dead giveaway.) Did anyone think I was “hot” at the reunion? Nobody did in high school, either.
However, appearances are deceiving. It could be that just personality traits stay the same and we only think we are unchanged. The jury’s still out.