I am sometimes embarrassed by five-years-ago me. Even more so by ten-years-ago me, and don't get me started on fifteen-years-ago me. Every once in a while, the follies and foibles of my younger self will come flooding back to me, the mistakes, the broken relationships, the immature ways I handled almost everything, and I wonder how in the world that could possibly be the same person.
I think that's why I tend to avoid running into people from my past, and it may in fact be the exact reason I've never ever attended a class reunion or homecoming. I am not the same person I was when those people knew me, but seeing them again seems like it would make me feel like I owed them an explanation for the person I was then...and perhaps also for the person I am now.
I like to think the person I am now is a pretty great person...the lessons and the growth and the pain and the joy weren't lost on me, and I've become a better human as I've learned to embrace the ways in which I am so very human. I'm more accepting of others because I'm more accepting of myself, and I have more fun now that I've realized not to take myself (or anything else) too seriously.
And so I suppose there will come a day when my years-from-now self will learn to accept my years-ago self and my gratitude for the person I have become will outweigh the embarrassment I sometimes feel over who I was back when. For now, it's probably best that I live in the now and just appreciate the person I am today.