30 years on, life looks pretty sweet

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

When I was 18, I was going to leave my little hometown in the dust, heading for the lights and action of the big city.

In an interview upon my graduation from Spencer High School in May, 1981, I was quoted as saying (and I paraphrase) that I was " going to be a big fish in a big pond."

Ah, the arrogance of youth.

While I admire the chutzpah of that younger me, I've learned in the past 30 years that sometimes all you ever really needed or wanted was right outside your door.

You, my readers, know how that big fish-big pond scenario turned out. Call me a guppy in my own little puddle.

But a happy, generally content little guppy. I've got a family I love, friends I cherish, and a career that challenges me every day.

It took a long time for me to understand that I have very little to prove to anyone that matters, really matters, to me. The rest? Well, I'm confident enough that if "what you see is what you get" isn't good enough then that is their issue, not mine.

That attitude is shared by a lot of folks my age, which is why the 30th class reunion of the Spencer High School Class of 1981, held this past weekend, was so much fun.

The preening, posturing and pretending goes by the wayside 30 years on. In its place are mostly folks comfortable in their own skin, and a lot more fun to be with. Photos of children and, heaven forbid, grandchildren, replace posing.

Most of us think, unfortunately delusionally, that we're hipper, more with it and, of course, younger-looking than our peers. Since we don't vocalize it, except perhaps to our spouse, it does no harm and makes us feel good.

We enjoy touring the old school and, with the eyes of a 30-years-on grad those classrooms do look much, much smaller than I remember. Never mind that, as a local, I visit the school many times over the course of a year. For this one tour, I've got my time warp goggles on.

Reminiscing, catching up, laughing, it was grand. So was catching up with my best, very best friend from high school, Sheryl Knapp, who returned from the Twin Cities to spend the weekend with me and attend the reunion.

No matter how long we go without speaking, or seeing one another, when we get together its like we never were apart. Cruising in my 1978 MGB (one high school dream of mine that actually came true - owning a car I lusted after in a way 16-year-old girls generally don't covet automobiles.) we had a blast. And caught up, and recharged.

I've decided that reunions are so much more fun when you remove the pressure and just be yourself, whatever that self is.

After all, 30 years down the road from cap and gown, I think we're grown ups now.

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