I just got home from the high school reunion. 40th. And I have to agree with my husband-- it brought out the inner 15-year-old in a bunch of us.
At one point I was standing in a doorway with a friend, looking out at a patio full of people.
“There are a bunch of people out there... and they’re scary.”
My friend smiled. “Yup. They’ve always been scary.”
So we both took a deep breath and walked into the fray. No harm came to either of us. Just as we had survived high school so many years ago, we survived the evening.
I don’t know why these old relationships cause so much anxiety.
It’s not like I was a total pariah in school, just not well liked. The only hippie on student government. The fat chick. Mixed race and full of ethnicity. Different. Not sure who I was or where I was going. I only spent three years with this group-- but as an army brat, that was the longest I had ever spent with one group of people.
And I have regrets. I regret that I was not more generous of heart at the time. I may have hurt people without intending to do so. I was young and did not know how to handle myself. As one friend said that night, “I think we have all learned to use what we have in a much better way.”
That seems true. People who never spoke to me then were friendly and open at the reunion. My Dad once said that the nature of reunions is that eventually most people are so glad to just be alive that old injuries don’t matter any more.
In the end, it was all hugs and whispers. “You haven’t changed a bit.” they all said. But they don’t know me; I have changed tremendously. I am happier, calmer, better grounded than I ever have been.
And I am prettier than I was then. My joyful heart makes me much prettier. I was glad to see everyone, but I am so grateful that I am no longer a teenager.