I remember the Chico High Class of 2002’s last assembly- we had to decide whether we wanted a ten-year or five-year reunion. We all sat in the gymnasium, huddled on the bleachers, released from regular class to discuss when we would get to see each other again. We were excited and scared for what lay ahead of us; tiny fish in a very large sea. We all had big dreams of college, moving out of our parent’s house for the first time, making new friends, making money and…well…partying! Although it seemed an eternity away, we decided ten years would be best.
This Saturday was my ten-year high school reunion. Holy moly, did time fly! Unreal, really. Mind boggling. I remember my parents saying on several occasions to “hold on to these years, they go fast,” or “I would take my high school years back, any day.” I get it; if this is how fast life flies, I better start paying attention.
I often write about The Book of Life; my imaginary, unrealistic guide I followed (or tried to follow) through life, until the day my life forever changed. Once Mom was diagnosed with breast cancer, I threw the Book of Life out the window…at ninety miles an hour. I “quit” college to experience an adventure of a lifetime in Hawaii, and gave up my adventure to come home and care for Mom in her final days. All decisions I stand behind, however, not decisions I thought were acceptable in my The Book of Life. My “book” forgot to mention that I would bury a childhood best friend, two grandfathers and my mother before I was old enough to sign on the dotted line for a rental car.
I also was not prepared to be presenting and doing a book signing for a book I wrote, at a bookstore where I bought textbooks before I “quit” college, the week of my ten-year reunion! Life is silly- and just like Forrest Gump said, “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get.” I know we have all made fun of, or giggled at this line, but it is a classic (and so unbelievably true).
When a client asked me about how I felt, knowing that my “big reunion” was coming up, I honestly replied with “slightly disappointed.” “Why?” this client replied. Because I am still ME. When I hear my voice in my head, it’s me. When I refuse to do laundry until there is no more clean underwear, it’s me. When I giggle until tears are streaming down my face and my stomach hurts, it’s still me. I one-hundred percent believed I would be a different person by now…but I’m still me. Go figure?
My group of girlfriends from high school and I all agreed to ditch the reunion for a reunion of our own. It was only fitting- for being all 4.0-3.8 GPA students, we certainly didn’t attend much school, or school functions. We were antisocial to say the least. I mean, we were social, just not with others our age. We had a tendency to have friends at the college (sorry Dad). The boys were much cuter at the college level, and they had cars…that actually fired up when you turned the key. What can I say?
I was excited to reunite with these girls. We have had several “reunions” in the last few years, but I was still a bit nervous to catch up and see what everyone else was up to. My old Book of Life has a tendency to rear its ugly head at inappropriate times, making me feel like maybe “I could have done something better,” “I’m not married, or even engaged, let alone kids…am I failing?”
Some of us are married, some of us have kids. Some have college degrees, some have solid careers. Some are self-employed, while others are rocking at being awesome mommies. Some of us have buried a parent, and all of us have buried a friend or family member. Unfortunately, we are a war generation, and some of us did not make it home.
All in all, the reunion was a much needed reminder that we are all on our own path, and doing just fine. Although I am nowhere close to where I thought I would be at twenty-eight, this weekend was verification that I have taken my lemons and made a pretty decent lemonade.