This past weekend, I celebrated the graduation of my goddaughter/niece, as well as a couple of cousins. I probably also shouldn’t ignore that this was my own graduation weekend, but since I decided not to travel down to Milwaukee and put on an ill-fitting dress and hat to be allowed to sit in an uncomfortable chair for multiple hours (even if Willem Dafoe was being given an honorary degree from the same school at the same time), I allowed that to take a back burner. Besides, I feel a little weird about the whole graduation thing anyways.
But that’s not the focus of the story. The focus is that at this graduation, which is from the same high school that I’m an alumnus from, it is quite the common occurrence to come across a large number of people I went to school with back in the day, seeing as this school is filled with a large number of people who are related to each other through marriage and the like. It’s not an uncommon joke about how difficult it can be for students to find a relationship partner in this school due to how interconnected it is. I even came up with a genealogy/dating app idea this weekend which was already starting to gain some traction, for all my angel investors out there…
And so, since I have a ton of family members who are regularly graduating from this school, I find myself attending graduation here almost yearly. And that means that I then wind up seeing people I haven’t seen for over 20 years. And it also means that I have to take on this persona that I don’t generally use in my daily life. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has this persona. I’ve been calling him “Showtime Adam” as of late, although I’m really hoping I come up with a better term for him soon.
He’s this chipper, friendly, full of jokes kind of guy who definitely isn’t incredibly exhausted from life and certainly could never suffer from crippling depression. I actually like Showtime Adam, even if I’m not sure he comes across quite as likeable as he thinks he does. I also like being him. He brings me back to this far older version of myself who everyone believed was an extrovert. He’s this version of me who can push past the anxiety and run up to someone and have a good ol’ regular conversation with them like it’s nothing. He is, actually, everything I wanted to be growing up.
But he is exhausting.
Like, I don’t know how legitimate extroverts do it? How do they go about their day being themselves every dang day and not have to take a week-long nap?
I’m really glad Showtime Adam exists, because if it weren’t for him, I’d never be able to catch up with these people who were really important to me for at least a brief portion of my life. He’s the Little Engine That Could for interpersonal relationships. He’s the guy who says, “Screw that little voice in your head that says no one liked you in high school and go talk to that person who used to give you hugs every morning.”
I thoroughly enjoyed getting to catch up with these people whom I’ve really only had the most basic of Facebook interactions with since high school. I’ve actually been quite lucky over the past year in that I’ve been finding myself in the presence of countless people who I’ve lost contact with and being able to regain some level of it again. I’ve joked with my wife that it almost feels like my life has become the final season of a beloved TV show, where all these people who had supporting roles over the years show up for one final hurrah.
She doesn’t like that joke.
So, thank you Showtime Adam, for allowing me to get to say hi to these people who used to be such an effortless relationship. For allowing me to reconnect with people I love. Someday, maybe, we’ll find a way to be more of the same person so I don’t have to hide behind a computer screen typing out my feelings about how much I love these people and just tell them to their faces. But for now, I’m really ready for a nap, because even four days later, the effects of Showtime Adam are still wearing on me…