This past weekend I went to my 10 year high school reunion and boy it was fun! A few of my closest girl friends and I helped plan the whole event, and from it I learned some valuable things.
What do I remember about life with these friends? Our class was small – I graduated with 99 people – most of whom I went to both middle school and high school with, so we all knew each other fairly well. The short version is that we grew up in a very wealthy community. A place where it was easy to hide behind stuff and ended up being very fake and surface-level. I remember never feeling like I fit in (story of all of our middle school/high school lives, right??). I was good at a lot of things but didn’t excel as a shooting star in just one. So that made me the honor student, swim captain who was in the plays and musicals, worked at Sonic as a carhop. I was all around great at being all around. 🙂 So going back to see friends I hadn’t seen in forever, I was naturally a little nervous. A lot of these friends I hadn’t seen in a long time, and some of them I wasn’t even friends with in the first place. Turns out I had nothing to be anxious about!
Here are ten important lessons I learned from this past weekend of reunion festivities:
- “Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.” So the saying goes, but it really is true. Growing up in the community I did, I have worked most of my adult life to undo how I learned to wear masks in middle school and high school. I have worked to become more and more authentically me the older I get. Showing up and being MYSELF, owning everything that I’ve walked through and not being ashamed, that felt amazing. Being yourself allows everyone the freedom to be themselves too. That felt so great.
- People change. In the same way that I feel like I have changed a lot, hopefully for the better, I was happy to have incredible conversations with some people I wasn’t particularly close to in high school. People can change and in many cases I was very pleasantly surprised! We are all growing and changing. But….
- Some people never change. Then I had the opposite experience in which I saw some people and thought, Yep! You’re EXACTLY the same as you were 10 years ago. To me, it just proves that you have to want to change and you have to have some self awareness in order to do so.
- You’re not going to please everyone. As someone who helped plan the event, it was easy to see that planning a large event meant that not everyone would be pleased. It’s totally impossible. Before the event, we heard rumblings that the price was too high, wondering about the venue choice, etc. etc. etc. But in the end everyone was so happy with how the event went – the food was great, the venue was perfect and we had a lovely evening!
- Be an adult and RSVP. Nothing new here. People don’t RSVP anymore to functions, which is a shame because had we had the correct # of people who actually attended we could have done more for the event itself. Be responsible and RSVP, it really does matter.
- Cool people pick cool spouses. I really loved meeting my friends’ spouses. I hadn’t met many of my guy friend’s wives so that was fun to see who they chose as lifelong partners.
- Thank you still goes a long way. There were a few people who said, “You helped plan this right? Thanks so much!” and it really meant a lot. A lot of work went on behind the scenes to make the event look effortless, when it fact it wasn’t.
- Kids are a bonding element. We had a brunch earlier in the day for families including kids, and it was so much fun to share in that season of life with good friends. We laughed about funny things that the kids did, enjoyed . One of the dads even got peed on. It was quite a fun time! 🙂
- You can tell who’s gone to counseling. This might seem like a weird one, and don’t take it the wrong way… but it was interesting to me to have conversations like, “Yeah me and my counselor talked about that…” because that’s very commonplace to me, but I don’t always expect that from everyone else. I was happy to have honest, genuine conversations about deep life stuff in the midst of a noisy 10-year reunion. You can tell the people who have done the hard work of digging up their life stuff and worked to move on.
- A lot can happen in 10 years. This one needs the subtitle: No duh, of course. But truly, I think back to what’s happened over the past 10 years and it seems insane: I’ve gone to college, graduated, gotten married, experienced a hellacious few years, had several jobs, had a baby, got divorced, moving on, in a new relationship, launched a business, etc. Lots of life happens.
I had the best time at our reunion – it was so much fun to reconnect with old friends and I was able to feel proud of all that I’ve accomplished and not ashamed, which was by far the best of all. I can’t wait to see what happens over the next 10 years… I have a feeling it’s going to be good! 🙂
How about you? Have you been to a reunion lately? What was your experience like?