It’s hard to believe it was nearly a week ago I took a hard look at the last 10 years of my life. Last Saturday I unexpectedly found myself in a local party center, nervously gazing around the darkened room at faces of people I barely recognized and wondered if they were looking back at me.
I didn’t want to attend my 10 year reunion. Everyone I knew who was older said 10 years is a waste of time. After all, what have we accomplished? Perhaps a few degrees? Perhaps starting a family? Not too many people have gone too far up or down. Also, with the invention of social networking, it almost seems like we’re keeping up to date on everyone for everything anyway.
Now for the real reasons? No one I considered a close friend was attending and I was scared. Scared of the mean girls and guys. Scared of having to spend an evening being reminded of how little I mattered other than to be the one people made fun of or talked about. High school wasn’t TERRIBLE for me, I had friends and social activities, but I was far from comfortable with people my own age.
Still, when my other plans fell through I found myself thinking at a quarter to 7…maybe I should attend this reunion deal? What else will I do? Laundry? Alert the excitement police!
And so I tried on every dress I owned for about 30 minutes and finally narrowed it down and sent out a pic for voting via Twitter, Instagram and Facebook…
When I finished showering and went to get dressed, every vote was for the pink on the left. Personally I like the purple MUCH MUCH more, but I wanted people to be kind so I went with majority rule.
By the time I arrived I was 75 minutes late. No one asked for my ticket and no one asked me to buy a ticket at the door. I simply made a name tag and walked into the room. At first I stood there holding my breath waiting for the pointing and the laughing or anything else. No one I knew was within eye sight. And I mean that, I recognized NO ONE. Was I in the right room?
Finally I saw a few familiar faces and went over to the bar to stand with people. We swapped a few stories and required pleasantries (How are you? Living the in the area? What do you do for work?) before sitting down at a table. In exchange for crashing the party I opted not to eat the food. I figured it was only polite of me…and they ran out anyway! If I HAD paid the 35.00/person I would have been LIVID at them running out of food. Wow! Oh and it was totally a cash bar. Luckily I didn’t feel the need to drink.
As the night progressed it was fun to hear what people have been up to and as other people were pointed out to me (some names I knew, others I did not) I realized for most, a lot has changed since high school.
We all chose our own paths. For some the path was marriage and/or children. For others it was making a life in a new area. For me it was career based. Most people seemed happy with their developments, and although there were lots of people I would never want to trade lives with (just being honest) that’s OK because they may not want to walk in my shoes either. At the end of the night we all went home to what we have built for ourselves and the people we have welcomed into our worlds.
I spent Sunday with my best friend from 6th grade, Andrew. Yes, we’ve known each other for 18 years now! Monday night I spent time with Tom, my best friend since undergrad…so almost 10 years now for us. Both of these men bring out very different sides of me and I love it. Neither of them was the side I had to show Saturday night.
When I first walked in the doors I was a terrified 18 year old in a 27 year old’s body. I needed everyone’s approval and my makeup wasn’t quite right. I wasn’t quite thin enough or talented enough…nothing about me was enough. By the end of the night I didn’t care. All I wanted was to put my hair in a ponytail and throw on my running shorts and a tank. That is who I have become on the inside and outside. I am a strong person, I am a beautiful person.
I do not need to fit some stereotype of an adolescent mind to be a person of value.
I hope this feeling and thought processes stays with me for a while. I’m glad I crashed my reunion, I was able to let go of things I didn’t know I was still harboring. Thank you to everyone else who attended and I look forward to hearing all the stories at 20 years!