“I can only note that the past is beautiful because one never realises an emotion at the time. It expands later, and thus we don't have complete emotions about the present, only about the past.”
― Virginia Woolf
― Virginia Woolf
I can apply two words to my 18-year-old-self: Your loss. (I could add a "bi-otch" for greater effect, but I think you catch my drift.)
So, I apparently WASN'T destined for bigger things. I live in a fairly small southern city less than two hours from the tiny southern town where I went to high school. My career (if you can call it that) is uneventful and unexciting and I often do what most people seem to drift to: get up, go to work, go home, go to bed, get up, go to work, go home, go to bed. In my MIND, my life is exciting and challenging and extraordinary! But, in reality, my life looks much the same as my neighbors. I obviously didn't have it all figured out as a snotty little teenager.
We're currently planning a joint reunion with the class of 1988, who is celebrating their 25th reunion this year. We're doing it to boost attendance and, frankly, because a LOT of us in 1989 just would love for someone else to collect the money and do the majority of the planning while we sit back and drink wine. :) Many of our classmates still live in the area and, I believe, don't really see the value in attending a reunion of people they might run into the grocery store at any given moment. But I believe they SHOULD go.
Here are five good reasons to go to your next high school reunion:
- You probably missed out on some great people when you were an 18-year-old know-it-all. I know I certainly did. The people I have met who went to my high school are FUN. They're funny and smart and most of them have their you-know-what together. They make me laugh and they bring tears to my eyes. I should have taken the time to get to know them back then. But I am SO GLAD I get a do-over and get to know them NOW. I don't want to miss the opportunity to truly know the people I knew when I was young.
- You have better hair now. Especially if you're a girl. Especially if you graduated from high school in the 80's or most of the 90's. Or the 70's. You should go to the reunion IF ONLY to show people your highly-improved hair.
- Cliques no longer matter. You know that girl you teased for wearing ratty clothes? She's running her own business. You know that guy who sulked in the corner? He is a lively and entertaining Little League coach. Whoever you WERE in high school doesn't matter. You've lived a whole lifetime beyond that. Even if you're fresh out of college and deciding if you should attend a five-year reunion, I can tell you this: You are ALREADY a totally different person than you were at 18. People as they age tend to look past the outer shell and into the heart of you. (Or, at they least they do in MY rainbow-colored world.) Get to KNOW the people you graduated with as they are now. Listen to their stories. You might be surprised at what you have in common.
- Shared roots matter. I have lived all over the country. I have traveled and I have met some truly fascinating people. I have loved people of all ages, shapes, cultures, and races and have learned to appreciate and celebrate the differences of my friends. But the people who were with you in high school share a significant bond that cannot be recreated. Back then, you didn't have a choice about where you lived. You lived where your parents lived. You were thrust into this group and you played the cards you were dealt. You handled it....didn't you? You grew up with these people. They knew you when you had pimples and thick glasses and a stutter. And they loved you anyway. Or they hated you for it. Regardless, your interactions with them shaped who you are right now...whether you know it or not.
- Life is short. You never know where life is going to take you. Or when it's going to end. Why not take a few hours of your time and have a drink with the folks who thought you were a/an idiot/snob/jock/jerk/princess/ghost/genius? Tell a new story. Write a new chapter. I'm not asking you to relive the "glory days." I'm not asking you to even WANT TO GO BACK (I really don't want that). I am just saying that, for a moment in time, you shared space with these people as you were learning and growing and becoming the flat-out rock star that you are today. What a fabulous opportunity to find out who they turned into!
|Me and a fellow classmate at our LAST reunion. FUN, right?|
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