Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The best is yet to come

It’s been a decade since I graduated from high school, which means this would be the year that we would all converge for a 10-year high school reunion. Fortunately, I haven’t heard a peep about anything occurring, not that I would because I live on the other side of the country. I remember my senior year of high school and looking forward to the reunion that we would someday be having. I thought it would be fun to see my high school friends again, but then I graduated and closed that chapter of my life. I haven’t thought twice about reopening it because I like it where it is… in the past. So as the thoughts of high school reunions creep into my mind, I keep waiting for that minute when I feel the desire to even consider attending but all I really feel is apathy.

I got an email from one of the three high school friends I still keep in touch with. She mentioned high school and how we all thought that was what life was all about and it’s interesting as you get older you realize what life is really about. I tend to agree, but I think life can be about a lot of things depending on where you are in your life. High school serves an important role in the life of the adolescent. I learned a lot about who I was, what kind of friends I liked, how I wanted to spend my time, etc. But it was also a fun time of social activities, carefree afternoons, hanging out in the parking lot with my friends in our cars before and after school, football games and Mrs. Adams’ English class. I have a lot of fond memories of high school. Simultaneously, it was a time of broken curfews, agonizing lectures from my dad, uncertainty of what life was really about and what the next steps were, feelings of knowing there was so much more to my life than what my high school world offered me.

When I graduated… I really graduated. I left the auditorium and didn’t look back. I hardly hung out with my friends at all that summer and then I moved to California to go to school away from everyone and everything I knew. It’s been 10 years and I still only talk to three people I graduated with, and they are really the only people I am interested in maintaining a friendship with. It’s not that I don’t like the other people, it’s just that we are different people in different circumstances living different lives. We all choose who we are friends with and how much effort we invest in those friendships. Through the passing years, experiences and opportunities, I have discovered what matters most to me, and it doesn’t have much to do with high school at all.
I know what will happen at a high school reunion. Everyone will be looking around at the other people in attendance wondering what their lives are like, internally commenting on whether they are thinner, fatter, shorter, taller, balder, prettier, uglier, etc. than they were 10 years ago. Some will be married and have children, some will be divorced, and some (like me) will be neither… the shock of the entire class, I am sure. Everyone will wonder how I can be 28 years old and have little to show for it except a decade of awesome experiences. I haven’t changed much over the past 10 years. I don’t need to be validated by my high school and what people I knew 10 years ago think about the path I have taken. It didn’t matter to me then, and it doesn’t matter to me now.

What is life all about? It seems to be the question that millions of people struggle to find an answer for. I feel fortunate in that I know what life is about and what is important. I don’t need a fancy car, truckloads of money or a high-profile corporate job to make me feel like a success. An awesome family who celebrates my accomplishments, great friends who add value and laughter to my life, a boyfriend who inspires me every day, love and compassion, adventure, gratitude, a job that allows me to use my talents and caters to my passions, living in the most fantastic city in the world, knowing who I am, where I came from and where I’m going… that’s what my life is about. I wouldn’t change that, and I certainly wouldn’t trade places with anyone.

Will I go to my 10 year high school reunion? Doubtful, unless it ironically happens to be planned for the one weekend I will be home this summer. High school was a good time with lots of good memories, but it wasn’t the best time of my life although it seemed that way at the time. Every stage of my life has been better than the one before it, and I feel like the best is yet to come.

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