From the Class of ’68 to the Class of 2018
Well, another year older. Time to reflect. In a few weeks I’ll be going to my high school reunion. The class of 1968 turns 68 years old! Fifty years has gone by very quickly. High school is that microcosm of the world at large. You go in as a freshman… a small fish in a big pond. You make your way through that world and find your place. In four years you graduate as a senior… the big fish in the small pond. Then you are kicked out into the world with big goals, big ideas, only to find you’re now a very small fish in a very big ocean with lots of sharks. You will make your way in that world as well because high school prepared you to do so. Each graduating class, in its own way, makes the world a little better place. In my era of the 1960’s, social change was a big deal, and it still is today. We haven’t achieved all we would like to, but I like to think we have made advances. Every class that has come after us has moved the progress along further.
I have come to find that there are some undeniable truths in the world. I remember one of my high school teachers telling us that ‘some of you will not reach 30 years old’ and I thought he was absurd. We were all young and had our entire lives ahead of us. Then came life… Vietnam, car wrecks, drugs, suicide, illness, even murder. It was like when turtles hatch and run to the sea… some of them get picked off by birds and never make it to the water. But those of us who did were very successful; doctors, lawyers, judges, police officers, firefighters, writers, professional athletes, realtors, bankers, etc. Life in 2018 is not much different than 1968. Granted, we do have more technology and we’re getting more every day, but we’re still just monkeys in blue jeans with cell phones. I was watching a documentary about the ancient Egyptians and the archeologist was pointing out that in their off time, the pyramid builders ‘liked to drink and fornicate’… well, duh! Who doesn’t! Besides, they didn’t have T.V.! We’re still humans struggling along, making the best of things and trying to reshape the world around us.
There is still a huge difference between a third world country and a first world country. I have had the opportunity to travel the world and I hope you do so as well. Take advantage of the technology that allows us to do so. If you were born 100 years ago you would not have jet planes to take you anywhere on the globe. It will become even easier in your lifetime. There is a lot to see and experience. You’ll find that people all over the world are very much like us. They all want the best for their children just as your parents wanted for you.
Mick Jagger said it best, “you can’t always get what you want,” another undeniable truth. Growing up in the 1960s wasn’t that different than today. Our parents encouraged us, made us feel special, told us we could be anything we wanted to be. It was a lie then, it’s a lie now, but it’s an important lie. You need to believe you can achieve something or you won’t try. You need to try things you think you’d be good at, to find out what you really are good at and what you like. Just because you’d like to be an NBA point guard; if you’re short, can’t run, can’t shoot a basket… you might want to consider other options. It doesn’t mean you become bitter. Life is also about overcoming obstacles and making the best of the cards you’re dealt. I had a good friend who had worked hard all his life and shortly after he retired he was given a diagnosis of cancer. He knew what he was facing and that’s exactly what he told me, “I’ve been dealt this hand and I’ll have to play it.” No matter what you’re facing in life, there’s always someone who must deal with something worse. There are always examples of people facing up to adversity.
So, to the class of 2018 from the class of 1968. We wish you the best of luck. It’s a big, bold, beautiful world out there. Enjoy the adventure. Don’t get discouraged. Have fun. Fifty years will go by quickly and you’ll be in my position sooner than you think. I envy you. I’ve had so much fun, I’d like to go back and do it all over again, but since I know that won’t be happening I guess I’ll go to the beach and have an adult beverage… after all, it is my birthday!
Mark Marchetti, writer and Catalina resident