What I Learned from my 20-year High School Reunion
I recently had the privilege of attending my 20-year high school class reunion. Considering the amount of angst I felt while considering my participation, it seems reasonable that a blog post is in order about what I learned from the event.
(I’m still in a state of shock that there’s a “zero” after that “two,” but that’s beside the point.)
I didn’t attend my 10-year reunion, as I was newly married and didn’t want my husband to realize he’d married one of the class nerds. The 20-year reunion was a little less threatening to me as I’m more comfortable with myself and who I’ve become. Even so, it was nerve-wracking to wonder if these people were going to be mean and petty or decent adults.
Here are my observations:
1. We’ve all gotten fat(ter). May I just say it’s unfair that Spanx has not yet gotten around to marketing their products to the masculine demographic because wearing a panty with the squeezing capability of turning a newborn calf into a squirrel was a large part of my willingness to appear in front of people who only remember me as a girl all elbows and knees and frizzy hair. The dudes just don’t have access to the same physical aids. Such is life.
Our diets and lack of physical activity have taken their toll on us all. I blame childrearing and an abiding adoration for potato chips. Perhaps others can only say their jobs keep them too busy to spend the hours working on their physique. Whatever the excuse, all of us (some a little more than others) are an inflated version of our 18-year-old selves. That’s alright. We’re all still in there and we’re all pretty forgiving of the occurrence because we’re all guilty.
But really. I wore Spanx and even though I almost gave myself a black eye trying to pull them up after a potty break, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
2. We’ve realized this getting older thing isn’t black and white. I was pleasantly surprised to see all of the members of my graduating class talking to one another. By the end of the night they traditional stereotypical groups did tend to separate out again, but it wasn’t in an exclusive way – it seemed to be a natural process of people catching up with those they spent the most time with in high school.
People shared pictures of their kids, mentioned divorces, talked about jobs won and lost… and were generally supportive of one another whether they were talking accomplishments or failures. There were many different life paths in one room for a select period of time — and I don’t think anyone there thought they “had it all figured out.”
3. I’ve moved past high school. I was pleasantly surprised that everyone I spoke with was genuinely friendly and cool but at some point through the evening I realized it doesn’t really matter what my high school comrades think of me and how my life turned out. I have nothing to prove to them.
I am absolutely accountable to my husband, family, and close community… but not to people I see once every twenty years. They are welcome to have whatever opinion they’d like of how my life is turning out but that opinion is not needed for me to continue with my own adventures and lifestyle. What liberation!
4. It’s worth going. If you’ve been hesitant about whether to attend, based on my own experience, I’d encourage you to do it. The reunion was most certainly a surreal experience in many ways but it was also enjoyable and I was genuinely happy to spend time with people I haven’t stayed in touch with over Facebook. Not everyone shares openly on social media, face-to-face conversations are quite helpful!