Saturday, April 16, 2011

Reunions: A Spanx-free post

With the whole boot thing, and a handy little running hiatus along with it, I've been joking with people at church that I gave up vanity for Lent.  (This is screamingly funny to a Presbyterian, maybe a Catholic; the rest of you can just nod and smile politely until I get to the real post.)

Here's the thing. I have my 20th High School Reunion this weekend.  And instead of heading into the weekend in the best shape of my life with a big half-marathon race a mere 3 weeks away, I'll be limping into the festivities with my fancy cast and sucking in my gut along with the best of 'em.

I totally forgot to crash diet or to get a boob job before this reunion thing.  I even bailed on buying a new outfit.  How's this for profound insight:  I haven't seen most of these people since the Ten Year event.  They won't know whether or not I wore this outfit 6 days in a row last week!  Pure genius.

I did buy new shoes:  the timeless and go-to salve for the pride of anyone who may or may not have gained a pound a week in the time she wasn't running and ate a lot of Easter candy instead who needs a little boost.

But here's another stunning revelation:  the people I will see this weekend are not attending because they've heard rumors that Kirsten Nilsen nee Schneider bought new shoes.  It's true.  In fact, to preserve what little shred of self-dignity I've got left after this boot wearing incident, let's not even reflect on the percentage of people who are [gasp!] turning up to the reunion not even remembering that Kirsten Nilsen nee Schneider was in their class.

A classic yearbook shot, c1990:  Yours Truly is bottom right with my ladies Clare & Andrea.

Which is all to say this:  reunions are so not about me, or about you.  Pride schmide, vanity schmanity.  We are all going to look twenty years older.  Those of us who spent our high school years lifeguarding are probably going to look twenty four years older.  Lisa Lang will probably look as stunning this weekend as she did the day we graduated.  Some people are just like that.

What this reunion will be is about connecting:  revisiting those small moments in high school when you shared a joke with someone in Chem Lab, when you felt profound empathy for someone's embarrassment, when you watched someone navigate a crowded hallway with an inner grace that had nothing to do with their grades or popularity.  Checking in with people who have lived unusual, adventurous and brave lives and admiring their moxie.  Checking in with people like yourself who have lived entirely regular lives, the lives that probably could have been predicted in June 1991, but have made that their richly embroidered story nonetheless.

So remember this, all of you who feel that you don't want to go unless you're 20 lbs thinner, one marriage happier,  2 gorgeous kids richer.  It's not about you, not really.  It's about connecting as human beings - humans who knew each other at our most-raw, least-evolved time of life.  There's gotta be something said for that kind of knowledge.


Emily said...

have fun! i love your attitude. xo

Jen C said...

Have a fantabulous time! And I too love your attitude about it all. You're beautiful on the inside and out!

Sarah said...

Aw, have a great time! This post makes me wish I was going to my 20 yr reunion! Too bad I have to wait 5 more years for it...

The Empress said...

Can't wait to hear about all the news, when you come back.

Enjoy yourself!

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