My Thirty-Year High School Reunion was this past weekend. I walked in and had trouble recognizing anyone from La Serna High School's class of 1981, and at first no one seemed to recognize me. With an all-too familiar trepidation, I approached the reception table and gave the girls from Reunion.com my name. They quickly found my badge and gave me a keepsake memory book, as well. I dutifully pinned on my badge, looked around and wondered, "What had I done, why had I wanted to be here?" I plopped down in the nearest chair and pulled out my phone, maybe checking in on Facebook would make me feel better...
In an instant, I was thirteen years old again and walking home from junior high. I could even hear Steve Ruiz and Doug Peterson yell out to me as I walked on one side of the street and they walked on the other, "Hey Rayanne, did anyone tell you that you were a surfer's dream?" I tried to ignore them, honestly, I tried. I had heard that one for over a year now... Apparently, I was a Pirate's dream, too - a "sunken chest." I was twelve, I was thirteen, and even so, my self esteem had been crushed with one too many careless comments. And I kept it all in. But I cried when I was alone.
For some reason, going to this particular reunion brought those feelings all back to me.
My mom's career was as an Activities Director in Nursing Homes. She often told me that as people age, there comes a point when they long for their youth, they think about siblings and close friends, parents and grandparents and they start to remember things they had forgotten and long to share stories and memories from their youth. There comes an age when your mortality is real, when one's life is becoming perceptibly shorter.
Back at my reunion, my friend, Melanie plopped down next to me and said, "Put that phone away, you are here now..." I joyfully hugged her and gladly forgot about being thirteen and the awkward years that followed. It is easy to let the past get in the way of the present, if you let it. There were a couple more times during the evening when I felt that ugly purple puberty monster rear its hateful head, but I was able to push it back to the cave to where it had been banished thirty years ago.
Getting past the past is one of the most difficult tasks we could ever hope to accomplish. Some people never do and if this last weekend is any indication, I am guessing it will be a lifelong fight for me, myself, and I. But every step forward takes me further away from dreadful walks home from school, PE locker rooms, and heartbreaking crushes. Somehow, those few years stay with us more than others.
I will look back at these battles this week and see if I can learn anything from my thirteen to seventeen year-old self and close a few yearbooks for good.
"Have a great summer, see you next fall..."
I had to laugh when i read this. Just wait Rayanne. My 50th class reunion was last year. Here are some tips for the future. Don't let your hair go gray, don't let your wardrobe look like it went out of style in 1982, keep wearing makeup and high heels and a hair style that is not vintage 1960. Don't talk about your latest surgery. When you walk in someone will tell you that you must be at the wrong reunion.
It's not a matter of getting past the past it's a matter of not living in the past. Who the hell were all those old people?
Hahaha... well, let's see-
I already have the sixties Hippie girl 'do and I don't color my hair, yet-- (I'm lucky, so was my Grandma)
I don't wear high heels anymore - flip flops only
I wear very little makeup but what the sunshine gives me
And I call them procedures, not surgeries....
We had a couple thirty-year olds crash the party cause the "chicks were so hot" - I, personally, love getting old!
Have you ever seen a 55+ woman wearing flip flops and no makeup. They call those bag ladies.
Enjoy the hippie phase but don't throw away the mirror.
No plans to throw away the mirror and I will enjoy the hippie phase as long as it lasts...
I am sure I will be back in heels and wearing black at the next conference...
Honey...in my best yiddish accent. Get ova it, ya can't go wrong in basic black and pearls. In the meantime, humor me, at least put some bling on those damn flip flops.