Making an Impression

Sometimes, it’s just nice to get away, no matter where I happen to be heading, and that was part of the reason I was looking forward to driving to Kansas last weekend for my 40th high school reunion.  I was also looking forward to seeing some of my old classmates, and the chance to spend a little extra time with some good friends who live near that area and who I don’t get to see nearly as often as I would like to.  Still, it was a high school reunion, and that’s just not the same thing as heading off to a vacation on the beach.  A reunion involves making the effort to reconnect with people I haven’t seen in years, and engaging in small talk with lots of people for an extended time.  For an introvert like me, that’s a little intimidating, no matter much I enjoy someone’s company.

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I also had a vivid memory of my 20th high school reunion, which was the first reunion I had attended since graduating high school.  My high school was in a small town that hosted the County Fair each year, so it was a tradition for the classes to hold their reunions on the weekend of the fair, and for each class to participate in the fair’s parade by riding on their class float.  It was hot sitting on an open float in the summer sun, which meant there was also a tradition for each class to toss water balloons at those sitting on the other class floats.   I won’t bore you with the details, but at some point near the end of the parade, I tried to grab a water balloon and promptly fell off the float, landing hard on the asphalt street.  I scraped the skin off the palms of my hands, had a bleeding head wound, and suffered some very serious damage to my pride. I know there are people who dream of making a big impression at their class reunion, and I certainly made one.  Trust me, it’s over-rated.

Luckily, this reunion was uneventful, as I shed no blood and had no need for medical care, most probably because they no longer have the classes participate in the parade.  I managed not to embarrass myself (at least as far as I know, but there might be photos that haven’t surfaced yet), and had a great time catching up with old friends and acquaintances.  Everyone talked to most everyone else, and unlike the class reunions we always see on television shows, the tone was relaxed, friendly, and casual.

I think one of the the best things about growing older is how most of us shed the need to try to impress each other, which means that when we do gather with classmates we haven’t seen in years, we don’t ask about their accomplishments, try to gauge their material wealth, or scrutinize their appearance.  We simply ask how they are doing, and genuinely hope that they are happy with their lives, no matter what their circumstances.  And if they are struggling in some way, we offer sympathy and support, rather than judgement.  Maybe that kind of honesty and acceptance only comes with age, I really don’t know.  But if so, it sure is worth the wait.

46 thoughts on “Making an Impression

  1. I’m glad you had a nice time, Ann. I’m guessing reunions are a lot like life. During the first few I think people are still happy to see each other and just catch up and have fun. At some point I think some people try to gauge how successful others have become. When everyone hits those middle years I think it just circles back to a relaxed, fun get together. Sort of a reflection of life for some…:)
    Thankfully there were no parades and floats this year…)
    Sorry, I couldn’t resist..:)

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, you are right, the reunion experiences do mirror our life experiences. And believe me, you aren’t the only one who was glad there were no floats this year. They stopped them shortly after the reunion where I did that…I can’t help but think my klutziness might have been part of the reason! It’s funny, looking back on it now. But at the time, I was pretty embarrassed!

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  2. I’m glad you enjoyed your weekend reunion..:)
    I think reunions are a reflection of our lives. The first few are just catching up, having fun, trading stories. At some point some people become curious about how successful other have become, who they married, etc until we finally come full circle as we get older and just relax and enjoy conversation without pretense.
    Thankfully there were no floats this year..:)
    Sorry, I couldn’t resist..:)

    Liked by 1 person

    • George, I’m sorry you had to repeat this comment! For some reason, your comments went into my “waiting for moderation” section, but I was only notified of one of them. I just now saw this one when I was in WP Admin, trying to edit a reply, which I can no longer do from my blog page. Something’s acting up, but I guess I’ll just have to wait until they decide to fix it. Hope it’s soon, and again, I apologize for your trouble! Thanks for being patient!

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  3. What a great line:
    “Maybe that kind of honesty and acceptance only comes with age, I really don’t know. But if so, it sure is worth the wait.”
    Like poetry dear Ann!
    Wonderful!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. As Miriam wrote…we are older and wiser! It is great that your reunion was a good experience. Classes in my high school were so small that we combine years. As we have grown older we include classes from 1940s to 1980s and one is coming up in September. I am glad that you shed no blood this reunion! And I didn’t know you were an introvert. Oh, I can relate to that! Cheers!

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    • I’m definitely an introvert. I really like people, and I like to be around them. But I find it easiest to express myself through writing, and I also need some time alone rather often to “recharge my batteries.” Small talk doesn’t come easily to me. And I like the way you combine your reunions! We do that a little, unofficially. People from the classes above us and below us always stop by to say hello, and it is so good to see them. In a small school, you know a lot of people who were in different classes.

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  5. My 25-year reunion was better than expected. I didn’t really enjoy high school, so it was nice to talk to some of my classmates as adults. I was disappointed at the ones who seemed to be at the same maturity level 25 years after graduation, though. Interestingly, almost all of the women looked AH-MAY-ZING, while the men had NOT aged well. Ha ha.

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  6. I agree with your assessment Ann. I was surprised and pleased to see how much people had changed for the better at my own reunions. The cliques were gone…just a lot of middle-aged people who had a genuine respect & interest in their fellow classmates. Too bad we didn’t have that wisdom as youngsters.

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    • That was exactly my impression of my reunion. High school, or even life in general for teens and young adults would be so much easier if we had that perspective then. But I guess it really does come with age.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Admittedly, the description of your falling off the float made me laugh out loud, but I am very glad to read that people were genuinely interested in one another and that conversation was easy. Glad it went well. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’ve never been to a reunion of any kind, so I’m not sure how the years have affected my former classmates. I’d like to think we’d all be more mature these days, but perhaps we’d just be older. Anyway, I’m glad to hear that you had a good time. 🙂

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  9. With age comes wisdom.
    By a certain age we understand that life is more than the superficial. We seek deeper bonds and crave authenticity. Asking about what a person has or has accomplished is irrelevant since if one is not in good health none of those other things really matter. How will one enjoy such things if unwell or, dare I say, dead.

    With wisdom also comes perspective.
    At 40, I’m a lot more comfortable in my skin than I was at 25. Granted, I had a better figure then, and energy galore, but I’m more in tune with my health now than I was then, since youth was on my side and at that age we deem ourselves invincible 😁

    Always a pleasure to stop by your space.
    Glad you were safe and well this reunion. Here’s to 20 more years. Cheers!!! 🍻 😀

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