Who is that guy over there? Was he in our class, or is it somebody’s spouse? He looks vaguely familiar, let me think….
Last Saturday night I attended my 35th High School Reunion. It was my first! I never went to a reunion before. I had moved out of the area, worked, met other people and didn’t think too much about the old crowd.
Since Facebook was invented, people have been able to find some of the folks that they grew up with. Or went to college with. Or dated.
Over the past 2 years, I have been re-connected with folks that I have not thought about in decades.
When I was invited to the High School reunion, I really had no intention of going. But several of my “friends” on Facebook bugged me. So I decided, what the heck, why not.
Oh. But there is that matter of being a few pounds heavier than I was in high school. Oh yeah, that could be a problem. Flashbacks to junior high, and being teased about my weight made my stomach flutter. I can hear the cruel chanting, the names. I want to hide.
The cliques. Oh, I was in with some popular girls for a while, until one lied about me and got everyone to hate me, and they never got over it.
Wait a minute, I thought to myself. You’re 50-something years old. You’ve survived cancer, divorce, surgeries, childbirth, layoffs, money struggles. You’re not a victim. You are a survivor.
I know that my situation is not the norm, but I found this group of folks to be genuinely mature. Well, mature in the way that we all accepted one another, just as we are. Not grown up in the good things: Sense of humor, love of fun.
I looked around the room. Should I know that person? Or is it someone’s spouse? I guessed wrong a few times. I took pictures of people and I still have no idea who they are.
And we laughed. We laughed at what we remembered, and what we didn’t remember. We laughed at what we did, and what we didn’t do. We laughed at teachers, and remembered teachers fondly.
So 35 years later, I discovered that I do belong. And I always did.
Life changes over the course of several decades. People get wrinkles, gain weight, lose their best friend, argue with children. It changes us. It forces us to mature.
But may it never force us to grow up!