Reunions are funny things. The word reunion conveys meeting up with a person or people that you haven't seen in a while. There are the reunions of those in love (I always think of the moment in the Muppet movie with Kermit and Miss Piggy), reunions with family - whether official or just after being away for a while, and of course school reunions.
Reunions seem to spark this self evaluation. As if I feel I need to show I have made use of the time since I saw everyone last. Because goodness knows I've been doing lots of stuff in the last five years. And yet, I'm not quite where I imagined I'd be either. I realize that life is like that. This is not news, this is not a big revelation on my part for me to share with you that I have figured out that you so rarely end up exactly where you think you will in life. It is just that reunions and such present an opportunity for me to analyze myself in this light.
I wear glasses. But I only need them for distance. So, I don't wear them at work. And I don't usually wear them during the day. But I do wear them to sporting events and movies and for night driving. And I realized at one point, that there were people who I only ran into at hockey games, for example, who only knew me as a glasses wearing person. Which was - not a shock really - but a moment of some sort. This realization that there are people who only know me as this person.
Well, my high school reunion is in some ways antithetical to that. These are people who know who I was. But don't really know who I am now. I am in touch with people I went to school with, but the people I keep up with regularly tend not to be in my specific class. So these classmates who I graduated with - I keep up with more through the newsletter than through actual effort on my part. Except every five years I run into a bunch of them at these reunions. And just like at Thanksgiving when my aunt asks me what I've been up to - I try to figure out what to say. Well, I work. And I have friends who I hang out with. And I have a cat. And I volunteer. And, why doesn't that sound like enough? And why - when I'm mostly happy with my life the rest of the time - do I confront this checklist. No - I'm not married. Not living with anyone. No kids.
I went to an empowering school where they helped instill in me this idea that I can and will do what I want. And that the choices available to me are in many ways limitless. So, why do I still feel that people are judging what I haven't done. Because, since I haven't been there (yet) this is me doing the judging for them. And of course I would tell anyone else that whatever fabulousness they have been up to is great, whether or not it includes those partner and progeny benchmarks.
And I'm finding that writing this has ended up sounding as thought I am more worried or more depressed than I think I am. I really do know that I'm in an okay place. And I do know that even if I never achieve these benchmarks (that are only useful if they are actually what I want) that I'll be okay. That I enjoy what I do - at and outside of work. That I really have nothing to complain about. So tonight I get to catch up with some of the wonderful people I went to school with. And talk about all the things we love to do. And then return to our regularly scheduled lives.