Why has it taken me so long to write about this? I think I’ve been digesting the whole thing. It’s taken a while for me to come to terms with the fact that I went to my 20 year high school reunion. 20 YEARS!! I still hiccup every time I say or think that. I mean, that seems like a really long time when I say it. Too long, like I’m supposed to be old now.
I called my sister on the way down (which could turn into a very long story but I’ll skip that part for now) and my 16 year old niece answered the phone. She asked what I was doing and when I told her, she squealed at how cool that must be. She, still being in high school, couldn’t even imagine what it would be like to go back 20 years later. At that moment, I couldn’t imagine either. 😉
I also called my mom and I don’t quite think that what she and I talked about helped with the anxiety I was already feeling. She didn’t think I would want to go to my reunion. Her recollection of me in high school was that I Hated it. Not just hated it, but with a capital H. That I couldn’t wait to get out and in fact started taking college art classes my senior year so that I didn’t have to go to my high school as much. She recalled that I never brought ANY friends over to the house. She said that one day she actually followed me to school to see if I had any friends. That she thanked God when she saw me walk down the steps to the quad and meet up with someone that I knew and continued to walk with them, talking.
These pieces of information started me second guessing everything. Did I have any friends in High School? I didn’t bring anyone around the house and for that matter, I don’t remember hanging out at that many peoples houses either. I couldn’t remember parents of people I knew. Did I ever meet them? What DID we do when we hung out? Where did we go? Remembering back that far isn’t easy to say the least!
So, after a crazy shopping trip to buy a cocktail dress that I didn’t end up wearing, (this is where my insecurities took over and told me that I wasn’t wearing the “right” thing and needed something better 3 hours before the event), I pulled into the hotel parking lot and checked myself in. Hotel Los Gatos was beautiful. My room was amazing. A Jr. Suite with tons of room, a fireplace and big tub in the bathroom. My sister and Maya both told me to relax a bit before going in and considering how I was feeling, I needed to relax. I opened a beer and bag of chips, probably not the best thing to settle my stomach and took a bath. Everything was going fine, I was trying to just unwind before getting ready and then my stomach started knotting up. I mean the biggest knot I’ve ever had. The anxiety was just too overwhelming. I could hear the party going on, my room was literally a couple of doors down from the event. People were laughing and reuniting. And me? I was doubled over on the bed wondering if I was ever going to leave my room. I was intensely grateful at this moment that my room was so nice because if I did decide to stay, it had everything I needed including a mini bar with wine, crackers and cheese.
I somehow managed to get ready while holding my cramping stomach and called Matt and the boys to say goodnight. He asked how the reunion was and when I told him I hadn’t gone in yet he responded with, “You paid for a ticket, you should go in! You’ll be FINE! Have fun!”
So, gaining strength from the home team I took a deep breath and went in, an hour and a half after it started. It was a little overwhelming at first and most people were congregating around the two bars that were set up on the balconies of the space. I saw some familiar faces and then, eased into being there. I think the fear that sent my stomach into knots was wondering if anyone would be glad to see me. Would people remember me? All of those funny thoughts that we have because we’re being pulled back in time to being a teenager who isn’t sure of anything let alone who they are.
Most everyone looked the same or at least just older versions of who they were. The girls became beautiful women. They seemed to settle into themselves and blossom. The boys became…men! It was so interesting to see how everyone changed. How they grew and to hear stories of life events over the 20 years. The best part of the whole thing was that I had fun. I really did. I enjoyed seeing people I knew and even connected with classmates that I wasn’t friends with back then who I’m looking forward to getting to know now.
It was interesting how some of the same dynamics played out that night. There was a girl who wouldn’t give me the time of day in high school who still wouldn’t give me the time of day, the guy who was quirky and a bit of a clown who still was, the people who partied and who were academic, the ones who were themselves, then and now. I thought about them and me. Who I was and who I am and I think what I came to was that I’ve always just been me. I never really tried to fit in with one particular crowd. I was friends with people from lots of different groups. I’m still that way. It was interesting to gain some perspective on myself and I’m so glad that I went. That I actually left the comfort of my room and braved the reunion alone. It was fun. Truly fun.
Since the reunion, everyone is connecting through Facebook which is a trip in itself. A new way to communicate and be connected. A way to be in contact and see fun updates and photo’s of people. It’s all a bit strange and the 20 year thing still makes my stomach turn a bit but I’m happy to have gone and am looking forward to keeping in touch with some old and some new friends.
If you can believe it I really didn’t pull my camera out that often. I think I was just needing to be there and experience everything instead of focusing on taking pictures. Here are the few that I did take. I wish I had the “then” photo’s to put along side. Now that would be fun!