My 20th high school reunion is coming up. For some reason, that thought doesn't bother me nearly as much as when I was approaching my 15th. Maybe it's because I'm at a better spot in my life now.
The Gryphon and me in 2003 and in 2008
Five years ago I was just starting to date The Gryphon, and while I liked him a lot, I wasn't sure where it was headed. Now, we've been married for nearly a year.
Five years ago, I wasn't sure where I was going with my career and felt like I hadn't accomplished very much. Now, I've completed another poetry manuscript and have just begun writing my book, My Wedding, My Way: Real Women, Real Weddings, Real Budgets. At this point, the book is practically writing itself, since I've already completed an overview of what goes in each chapter. As long as I get a little bit done nearly every day, I should make progress quickly.
Five years ago, I had already lost a good deal of weight, but I still felt like I was in transition. Now, I've reached a good level and have maintained for three years. Currently, I'm just working on increasing my muscle tone and shaping up.
To summarize, five years ago I felt like I was in a much more transitional part of my life. Now, I feel like I have some direction and am going somewhere positive.
There's something about reunions, though. They force you to reevaluate your life. What's changed and what hasn't? What are you going to tell your classmates? This must be how the participants feel of the long-running British documentary series by Michael Apted, which started in 1963 when the subjects were 7. The most recent installment was 49 Up. The filmmakers interview the same group of people every seven years to find out what's happened in their lives. The original purpose was to determine how much class played a role in destiny. The series has since expanded to address a whole host of other issues, as they come up in the lives of the people documented.
Participants have said it's hard, every seven years, to have their lives examined, because they always end up second-guessing themselves. Think about it: if it's hard enough to walk into a reunion for a class of 240, imagine if every seven years your life was exposed to millions of viewers.
I guess it all comes down to a matter of perspective and what criteria we use to judge our lives. Are you going to look only at the scale number, or are you going to look in the mirror and like yourself for all your good qualities? Are you going to kick yourself for the things you haven't accomplished or acknowledge the ones you have?
My classmates are probably going through similar soul-searching. They, too, might wince over dreams deferred. But unless you ask them, you'd never know by what harsh criteria they may be judging themselves. Someone who appears, for example, to be a happy mother of three may kick herself that she never tried to be a network news anchor. Someone with a good job at a local bank may long for long-past days of high school glory, with fans calling from the bleachers.
And so we all, for one night, will slap on a smile and act like everything is hunky-dory, that we couldn't be happier. For me, this year, I won't be acting.
Maybe nothing has really changed that much for me, except my perspective.