“We all take different paths in life, but no matter where we go, we take a little of each other everywhere.”
My high school graduation class will celebrate its 30th reunion this year. Just this week Facebook began buzzing with comments and posts asking for details, suggesting ideas, all in anticipation of coming together once again as the G.H.S. Class of 1982. As an observer and someone who has not commented until now, you can already feel the mixed emotions of classmates, even now, months prior to the big event.
From what I remember, it’s the responsibility of the senior class president, vice president and other class officers to organize all future class events — one of those larger ‘duties as assigned’ probably not considered when making the decision to run for class officer all those years ago.
In fact, www.urbandictionary.com describes reunion as “a dirty, dirty word that strikes anguish into the hearts of all event planners that involves mental and physical pain and shear brut will to survive.” I would have to agree with that statement.
Most of the students in the G.H.S. Class of 1982 had no idea that a reunion was in the works until one of our favorite classmates stepped in and formed a Facebook group page (many thanks B.H.). Thanks to the addition of this page and his efforts, there are now 82 members who are now aware a celebration is planned.
To me, Facebook is truly one of the most remarkable ways to share information. After all, if it’s good enough for traffic updates, Oprah, FOX News, etc., it should be good enough for a small town class reunion. In fact, I was surprised that the very people planning the reunion, only one is a Facebook participant. As a previous professional communicator, I hope one classmate will step in and actually communicate. After all, you can organize the best event ever, but if you don’t get the message out in a timely manner, you might as well not have the event.
As an event planner in my prior work life, I have to admit that I feel badly for those pulling the reunion together. Like most events, it’s a thankless job. You can’t make all the people happy, no matter how hard you try. Since the 30th reunion is such a milestone, perhaps a random survey or questionnaire would or could have been helpful. In fact, an event such as this warrants pre-planning of up to two years. After all, our classmates are at different stages in our lives and to attend another ‘party’ seems rather mundane. I have heard through the rumor mill that a 70’s themed party with a DJ is planned. That would not be the event I would have in mind for a group of soon-to-be 50 year olds.
A friend put it nicely when he wrote he hopes the reunion is “more of a celebration of life and a realization that regardless of the paths we’ve each taken that we are all gifts from God. So much of the attitudes that at times was a burden in high school are no longer a badge worn by any of us. At previous reunions it was fun to learn about everyone’s life path, but really just a celebration of the good that exists in each of us. I pray this reunion will be the same. Each of us is just as special, beautiful, successful, important as the next!”
While I was never the one to speak out in high school, I am sure my classmates will see that is one thing that has changed in my life. While there are a few classmates I keep in touch with, I can honestly say that I lost my closest high school friend many years ago. While she was a year ahead of me in school, she will be missed at any event I attend having to do with high school. I will see her face and hear her voice and it makes me sad beyond words. So long ago…but wounds that are very raw. Maybe because I lived away for 18 years; maybe it’s just a hurt that doesn’t go away. Your first BFF isn’t supposed to pass away at such a young age.
What is it about high school reunions that brings out the best or the worst in people? It’s not that I didn’t enjoy my high school experience — I guess it’s just that I loved my college experience so much more. I believe high school was just a stepping stone to whom I was meant to become and was the beginning of my overall development. My high school journalism teacher was the first person who gave me the confidence I needed to develop my writing skills. It was my college journalism professor, who took me under her wing and taught me everything I needed to know about journalism, public relations, communications, etc. Along with these two special women, I had outstanding internships with mentors who helped guide and shape me into a true communications professional. And, I moved up the corporate ladder faster than I thought.
I believe I owe it all to my small town upbringing, my family, and to each and every mentor, professor and teacher who ever took the time to help mold me into the person I am today. However, despite my professional accomplishments, personally, I don’t feel I became my true authentic self until after my spinal cord injury, which many may find surprising. I believe it took a life changing experience for me to discover myself — my real genuine self, and be able to accept who I am and all that I have been through the last 40+ years, including the good, the bad and the Dr. Liar. So in many ways I am glad I am not that same girl who graduated 30 years ago — I am me…with a little experience thrown in.
As 2012 is still in the early stages and the planning of the Class of 1982 is underway, it’s my hope and desire that as much time, effort and thought will be put into the reunion as many other milestone events in our lives. After all, I would like to look back on our 30th reunion with fond memories and with a smile. And to the class officers and other classmates who take on the event planning and work together, my hat goes off to you. It’s not an easy task, but one that will never be forgotten if it’s done with respect. Reach out to those who are willing to help since this is a party for the entire class — a time to reunite — a time to come together.
©My Unplanned Life and www.shakinguplife.wordpress.com, 2012.