Tuesday, September 11, 2018

High School Reunions

I just attended my 50th year high school reunion. The last one I went to was my 20th. The tone is quite different now. It's clear we've all had a big dose of real life.

Maturity and the inevitable aging process is showing on all of us and it actually looks quite comfortable and friendly. Thank goodness for the name tags with our '68 senior pictures on them!

We have a curiosity about each other. Who are we now? Where do we live? What life experiences have shaped us?

We live all over the U.S., in other countries and some of us still live in the same town. We have a variety of education, training, and life experiences.

We know how to run a business, navigate career changes, raise children, pursue volunteer work and causes we believe in, and publish books. We know about things like divorce, addiction, and suicide. Some of us have searched and found our biological roots after adoption which opened up whole new chapters for us. We know about achievement and mistakes. We know about successes and failures.

Along the way we lost some classmates. Some didn't survive the Viet Nam War. Others died from cancer or accidents. I walked over to look at the memorial table with the photos a couple times during the evening. It was a reminder how blessed I am to have had so many years on this earth.

Time is the great equalizer. 50 years later, we no longer care much about what someone wears, what car they drive, whether they were in the "in crowd," a member of the nerd hive, or a jock. We all know those labels don't truly matter in the long run. These things may have defined us 50 years ago, but they are irrelevant now. We value each other as fellow human beings whose lives intersected with ours for a brief time.

The culture of high school lasts four years...just one chapter in life. With so many teenagers in the midst of pain battling with lack of self-esteem, anxiety, and social media bullying, I wish I could tell all of them that there is so much growth and human potential out there in their futures that is worth the struggle and the wait. No, it won't be easy at times. But when high school is over they can push the re-set button as so many do. Actually, it's never too late to push the re-set button.

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