It has already been determined, for a multitude of reasons, that I was to go by myself and "room" with my best friend since 4th grade. She was going to go solo as well. Now before you think, "how enlightened" that both of these husbands are so confident to send us off into the reunion world without a second glance, let me just say... One, my husband gave me a list of rules to follow (thank God he still thinks I am hot enough to need rules), that can basically be boiled down to this sage advice -- "Don't do anything stupid." "Thanks, got it!" Two, my friend's husband who has never ever shown one bit of jealousy, all of a sudden ,before she leaves, wants assurance that she is happy with her life and that, she too, will do "nothing stupid." (And I will just say it for her, thank God he still thinks she is hot enough to worry about.) Anyway, we assuaged their worries and off we went from 2 different corners of the world.
I arrived on Saturday morning, the day of the actual event. My friend on the other hand, had arrived a few days prior to spend some time exploring and reminiscing around our hometown. She had also seen several people from high school the night before at a pub. I was excited to get some inside scoop on how everyone was doing and some clues as to whom I might need help recognizing. We spent a great afternoon together, and she did give me some great info on who is doing what. However, she took only 4 pictures, and all of people I would have recognized instantly. Did she take a picture of the gal who had lost 220 pounds and was walking up to everyone saying "do you recognize me?", or the guy who had grown 6 inches, filled out and lost his glasses? Nooooooooooo. Thanks for the help!
It's wild. You can go through your normal daily life as a fairly confident wife, mother, business owner, etc., but as soon as you are confronted by the fact that you are going back to high school all the old insecurities of that day begin to loom large. As the evening approaches, said insecurities are taking over and my nerves are jangling. It is 5:30 and my friend informs me that our old group of friends will be coming to our room prior to going to the event, and they will be arriving around 6:30-6:45. Yikes! I need to get going on getting ready. 6:15 a knock on the door. No way, they are early. I should explain that the people that are coming to the room are the girls that were my best friends in high school, but I have not seen any of them for at least 12 years, and one of them is someone that although we were friends from 5th grade until graduation, we had what can only be described as a tumultuous friendship. (None of it my fault of course!) Anyway, I wanted to look my best when I saw them for the first time, so I am quite rattled by this early knock on the door. It is none other than Ms. Tumultuous. I greet her in my underwear, a cami, no make-up, and wet hair. Awesome! Not exactly the grand entrance I was planning.
One of my biggest fears prior to going to the reunion was the thought of walking into the event by myself or sitting at a table by myself. So, as we leave the room to go down to the festivities we are 6 strong. Wait a second, I forgot my camera. "You guys go ahead, I have to get my camera, I'll be down in a second." so back to the room I go. As I get on the elevator, by myself, I realize that I have just orchestrated my nightmare coming true. I will be walking in by myself as the elevator opens right into the room where the party is being held. Good Move! With this and my illustrious underwear beginning I am really batting a thousand. The good news, I actually am o.k. with this. As I am going through this experience I am realizing that I really am as strong as I imagine myself to be.
The evening unfurls from this point as a total blast. Most of the women look great, we have held up surprisingly well. I guess the ones that haven't, didn't show up. On the male side however, quite a bit of weight gained and hair lost! Don't get me wrong some of the men still looked great too. It's just that how you look and what you are wearing has always been more important to women and that doesn't change just 'cause you get older. I see my first boyfriend from 7th grade, still a total sweetie! I see my high school sweetheart and his new fiance. Lovely lady. I even sing and dance to "Baby Got Back" with her later in the evening. I realize that singing to Sir Mix A Lot may not sound like a very adult thing to do, but in the surreal world of 20 year high school reunions, trust me, it is. I catch up with more girlfriends than I can count. I see a married man snogging on the dance floor with someone other than his wife -- in fact, she is a woman we graduated with that has been basically dancing like a stripper for the whole night. I see people looking and acting like they are still in high school, think pink hair (not kidding) and drinking to the point of getting sick in the bathroom (also, not kidding). All in all it was so much fun and I am very glad that I went. I was also glad when it was time to go home to my amazing family and my life that is the perfect fit for me.
As far as 20 year reunions go, my advice to you would be...Absolutely go to your reunion, but in the wise words of my husband, "don't do anything stupid." Reunions are a time to bury your old insecurities and ghosts, NOT the place to awaken new ones.