I will have to admit when the date was finally set I was not sure about what I would be getting into. After all, I had not been to a high school reunion, yet. That was about to change. Something inside of me said I really did need to reconnect and make peace with that part of my past.
First let me say I LOVED school. I loved my teaching and learning. I was an overachiever wanting to the best that I could at everything, but….algebra! I was overweight and the social side was something else. I was not part of the “in” crowd or the “popular” crowd; I was more of an “invisible crowd.” Part of me did not mind being invisible but another part of me yearned to be a part of all the social buzzing of high school. I took four years of art classes and chorus. I acted in a school production of A Christmas Carol but mainly worked behind the scenes creating scenery. Behind the scenes was my theme in high school for the most part. I was active in the clubs at school and even some athletic endeavors. I was one of those kids the teachers liked, as I was more “mature” acting than many of my peers.
I used my fat as a protective barrier between others and me. My subconscious thinking was that if I stayed aloof I rejection was out totally of the picture. Rejections came and were emotionally hurtful. Some emotional scars stay a lifetime and others vanish in time. Perspectives change in time as well. Over the years I have gone back to my old high school when I was in state and visited with a few of my former teachers but I really had not connected to many of my peers until Facebook. Facebook opened many doors for me to reconnect with many of my high school peers on an adult level. I found so many of my former acquaintances from high school had faced many of the same challenges I had in their lives since high school. Some more, some less. Many from high school were able to find spouses and jobs in the same area and have been living happy fulfilled lives in the same county and some the same city where we went to high school. Others of us ventured out of the city, and even out of the state.
Driving around the area where I grew up recently was quite an eye-opening experience. Where once there was fertile farm fields now are the home to huge homes, McMansions as many called them and lots of them! Several of my family members lived in very rural areas and surrounded by these McMansions and many new homes. The area is growing at a very rapid pace and experiencing a construction boom. The school district where I went to school is now the fastest growing school district in the state of Indiana. With all the new people, there are many changes. Main roads now have three “layers” off the main street with stores and shopping centers, traffic is now busy all the time and what was once anchors of the small towns are no more.
Even with living a thousand miles plus from the area, I was to help plan our 40th reunion and while fun, I felt very handicapped not living there to give more “hands on” assistance. Being on the planning committee brought a few things to light about my classmates that were fun and amazing to learn. One classmate had become a nationally recognized motivational speaker, another was a professional events planner, another a professional photographer and videographer, and another an accounts manager for discount stores. Several of us had been through divorce and others were proud parents and grandparents. We were all united to make this event happen with all are many different experiences and life directions. I did see shades of “high school” at times but never enough to keep the event from happening or being a success.
I will admit I was wondering if I would slide back into my “clam” “invisible” (shy/bashful/backward) mode/pattern that I was in high school. I was able to keep my ‘now’ self-present. I was no longer the chubby overweight girl who was happy being in a corner and remaining quiet. I was able to speak to all of my classmates at one point in the reunion and enjoyed it and no feelings of insecurity or invisible-ness came back. I was just me who I am now and it was ok! Everything seemed to be “ok” all the way around and fitting in at this age seemed far less traumatic than as a teen. I did have to shake my head (figuratively) at a few things I saw and heard but people do not change in many ways no matter how much time passes.
I am happy I went to the reunion and found out how many of my classmates have been living amazing lives! On a sad note, some my classmates have passed away from health issues varying from cancer, to heart attacks to brain aneurysms and respiratory ailments. Ten years from now at the next reunion that number will most likely double or triple.
In retrospect, it was so good to go to the reunion and remember some of the fun times before work, taxes and life took over. The reunion removed the negativity I had surrounding some of the high school memories. The surprise was others memories and perceptions of how things were back then. We all live our lives through different filters. But it was good to relive some shared experiences through some who experienced the same events.
I am already thinking about planning some type of reunion for the elementary school where I attended next year. There were many very fond memories of the Elementary days!