This week I attended my high school reunion. It also happened to be the hottest day of the year in Portland at a sweltering 101 degrees. I’m not sure if my brain started to get fuzzy from the wine, marathon social interaction, dehydration or a combination of all of the above. But when beads of sweat are dripping from your entire body as you try and navigate relationships from your past, you just got to go with the flow.
I think I need to preface my experience with a short explanation of St. Mary’s Academy (or SMA, as we affectionally call it). As you can probably tell by the name, it was a Catholic college prep school. It was relatively small with about 150 girls in my class. Oh yeah, and it was all girls. Yes, I am the proud product of an all-girl’s catholic prep school. Do I get a badge or something?
SMA was a unique experience and I definitely wouldn’t change it for the world. There are, of course, the misconceptions of what it is like that one needs to answer every time your high school days come up. “No we didn’t have a uniform unless you count sweatpants, and no everyone wasn’t a lesbian”. If anything the school was challenging and pushed us all to become powerful female leaders. But besides all that, my favorite part was the lifetime friendships that I made and the fact that we are all still close to this day. I am happy to be apart of this tribe of women.
I didn’t have exceedingly high expectations going in to the reunion, although I was more stressed out and anxious than I thought I was going to be. Partly because I have literally no clothes that fit me right now, I’m breastfeeding, and my hormones are still up and down. But it turned out all right like most everything does, with the exception of the temperature, and I ended up having a great time. Sitting on the periphery and looking around you could see that some people lost weight, some gained, (ahm…myself included), everyone now knows how to do their make-up, and there is one or two people that you swear you have never seen in your life. So all in all a pretty typical high school reunion.
Major milestones in our lives sometimes not only mark the next chapter but guide us to the small memories we have bookmarked back in the far reaches of our brain. Personally, I know when I saw that invitation and realized it had been 10 years since high school I was a little shocked. It seems like it was only yesterday that I walked in though the doors and like any teenager, probably started complaining about something.
I think what surprised me the most was that confronted with the past I was able to see my own personal growth. I am in some ways still the exact same person, painfully introverted, but now I know that is who I am. So in a way I am at peace with it and no longer have the teenage angst surrounding how I feel in a big group of people or during conversation. There is this idea when you are young that one day you will find yourself and who you really are, but now most of the way through my 20’s I know that everyone is just constantly evolving.
Sometimes in the slough through life we are just trying to get through the day (especially with kids) and we never take time to reflect on how far we have come, both professionally and with family. I’m not sure what my answer would have been at 18 if you would have asked, “Where do you see yourself in 10 years?”, but I think I would have been very pleased with the actual outcome.
So here’s to 10 years 2006!