After the post in anticipation of my 25th year high school reunion, I figured I should post an update on how it went! Did I wow them all with my brilliant success and gorgeous looks?
In spite of thinking ahead of time what kind of impression I would make, those thoughts and concerns fell completely by the wayside once I saw my old pals. I had a great time catching up with people and seeing where life has led them. There were plenty of friends who didn’t make it to the reunion whom I would love to see, and friends who have since passed that I hope to see one day as well.
A few personal lessons stand out to me from the weekend:
Your same-aged peers are the best people to ask how you look. And may I say, we look GREAT! Haven’t changed a bit! Perhaps we are sporting a few more pounds, struggling with hair loss (sorry, guys), wearing corrective lenses, counting varicose veins on our legs, or facing down crow’s feet in the mirror, but we feel young. And I heard plenty of comments that we still look good. Maybe we’re lying to ourselves and each other, but I think the Class of 1986 has aged beautifully. Maybe in 25 more years, we’ll finally look the 43 years we actually are.
Cliques don’t matter in the long run. Yes, some of us were smarty pants geeks, some of us were popular jocks, some were slackers, some go-getters, and so and so on. None of that matters 25 years later. We were like one big happy family, and everyone was excited to see everyone else. Some people definitely had more memories to share with each other, but I think everyone felt included as long as they mingled. All of those divisions seemed so important in junior high and high school, but the reality is that we were just trying to make it through back then. Perhaps we are older and wiser now.
Some things change, some don’t. If you head to your hometown, drive around and think about how things used to be. For instance, there are still Wienerschnitzels in Corpus Christi, but no Hershey Hotel. The mall is where it used to be, but it’s been renamed from Padre Staples to La Palmera and looks really different. My old house looks mostly the same (from the outside), but there is a different fence around it and the landscaping has grown up. People are the same way, too. Some things about us stay the same, and some things change.
Life is full of surprises – some good, some not. Some slackers straightened up and become family men and devoted moms. Some high-achieving students didn’t fare as well in college and the real world (heard about them rather than saw). Some people became successful teachers, doctors, or businesspeople. Some people fell in love with high hopes but ended up experiencing the pain of divorce. Some people who never had a great relationship in high school have been married for umpteen years (like me). And one fellow student lost his beloved wife to cancer when their child was quite young. When you are 18 years old, you look out at your life ahead of you and think how great it can be! But life isn’t likely to unfold exactly as you imagine. You must learn to delight in life’s serendipitous moments and weather its storms. Overall, however, life is a blessing.
I dance better now than I used to. This is hardly some big life lesson, but I got taken out on the dance floor by a guy who could clearly cuts a rug better than I. And I didn’t fall down – even though I was wearing my animal-print wedge flip-flops. I still would like those ballroom dancing classes (hint, hint, hubby!), but I fared okay. I did not embarrass myself or my partner by stumbling or doing an Elaine dance.
Thanks to the reunion organizers for a fabulous weekend, amazing barbeque (Howard’s Farmhouse BBQ & Catering), and a new set of memories with my high school pals. I would recommend to anyone to return for a high school reunion at least once. You might be surprisingly glad you did!
Have you attended a high school reunion? Have you kept in touch with your high school friends? Have you returned to your hometown after many years away? What have you learned with any of these experiences?