it's been 20 years since i graduated high school. i have to catch my breath a little when i say that...because in some ways it feels like it was just yesterday. a few of the memories are so real and recent in my mind. how did we get so old?! don't you remember being a kid in high school and thinking how *old* 38 was? it seems so ancient. in other ways high school seems like a lifetime ago....a distant memory of a person i barely remember.
i never went to our 10 year reunion. there may have been a legitimate excuse.....maybe a wedding to go to or something.....but the truth is i don't remember and i probably wouldn't have gone, even if i had nothing to do.
i too have felt many of the reasons i hear from people about why they don't want to go to their reunion:
1. if they were *really* my "friends" we would still be friends today.
2. why don't we just have a small get-together with the people we actually hung out with in high school...not all the "randoms".
3. why would i want to pay to hang out with people i don't even know anymore?
4. my life is not impressive enough yet. i have nothing to brag about.
5. i am fatter, balder, etc and just don't look the way i wanted to for a reunion.
the list really does go on and on.....
thinking about my upcoming 20 year high school reunion didn't exactly leave me giddy. i adore a lot of people and memories that were made during such a short four years of my life, but i thought (just like so many others) that i have facebook. seriously? a reunion? what is the point of paying to see people that i am already "friends" with and know what is going on with their lives, where they get their coffee, how well their child is doing with potty training, their favorite quotes and how much they love their spouse?!
most of the people i had stayed close friends with over the years were not going to the reunion. i had re-connected with some very incredible women from high school that were going, but I wasn't exactly in my comfort zone. these women (although fabulous) were not my very closest friends and the real thorn in my side was.....my life isn't exactly where i thought it would be at this point. i certainly don't have anything to brag about. in fact, the truth is that now (with the end of my marriage), the boys and i are currently "in transition", living with my parents in the very same home i grew up in. i feel so very blessed that i have such wonderful, supportive parents that are helping us through a difficult time, but there are moments that i feel embarrassed and ashamed about my marriage ending and needing to move in with my parents....like somehow i have failed.
i decided to go against every instinct i had to "have other plans" the night of the reunion and just suck it up and go. i was worried. was there going to be someone that confronted me about something i may have done in high school to hurt them? what if i didn't recognize someone and they were offended? would "mean girls" be mean? in high school i was a very unhappy, insecure person on the inside. i doubted myself at every turn, i didn't think i was good enough for people and i was extremely critical of myself. as the days approached to the reunion, i felt that insecure, self-doubting girl resurface. i didn't like it.
the long and the short of it is this: i did it. i went to my 20th high school reunion and i am really so very happy that i did. even though i didn't get the time i wanted to to connect with everyone there (both people i knew in high school and ones i didn't have the pleasure of getting to know back then), the in-person connection you have the opportunity to experience at a reunion is nothing at all like the perception we think we have of people from facebook. sure, we all are older......some of us are fatter, some of us have less hair, grey hairs, are single, divorced, have kids or kidless. we all have taken different directions in the past 20 years. overall, i would like to think that we are all better versions of ourselves. sure, i didn't go and invent the post-it or do anything famous....but i walked away feeling like i am pretty confident in the person i have become, even if i am still coming to terms with my current situation. my favorite conversations of the night were with those that allowed themselves to be vulnerable and authentic. i truly believe that we all are better versions of our former 18 year old selves..... isn't it funny how going to a reunion makes one sometimes feel like they need to change who they currently are to feel more confident when the most refreshing and empowering thing is to embrace yourself as who you are now and simply be authentic? dare i say i am actually looking forward to the next reunion?! yes. yes, i am.