A few months ago I wrote about how I'd gotten myself involved in the planning of my high school reunion. In the post I talked about wrinkles and weight and face creams and I touched on my insecurities. I vowed to get to the gym and lose some weight. I didn't lose much, the reunion is two weeks away and I find that my outlook has changed quite a bit. It's not so much about how I look anymore, but more about all I missed.
When I wrote that post, I had no idea the kind of flashback it would trigger. To say I was insecure during my teen years would be an understatement. I had a small group of friends, didn't go out much and participated in very few activities. Granted, my friends are great people and we had some fun times, but I was always guarded and I didn't take any risks. I didn't get involved in many aspects of high school because I was afraid of being rejected. Parties, I didn't go. Talk to the 'popular' girls? Why would they want to be friends with me? Flirt with the boy I'd had a crush on forever? Never. I could go into why I felt this way, frankly it had a lot to do with how I grew up, but the bottom line was, I had no faith in myself; I was afraid. I felt invisible and life went on around me.
Jump forward thirty years. I carry more than the twenty extra pounds I had in high school, but I have a lot to be proud of...I have a wonderful family and a fulfilling career, for starters. You see, when I went to college I reinvented myself. I explored my talents, found my place in space, took risks, and was burned on more than one occasion. In other words, I grew up. Yet when the reunion planning picked up speed, and I thought about how invisible I felt in high school, all my old insecurities flooded back. I kept thinking that I should forget about being a part of the planning and fade back into the woodwork. Outside my small circle, very few people even remembered me, right? Wrong.
I love learning new things, but I'm even happier when I learn more about myself. Because I've gotten involved in this event, I've discovered something...I could have felt much more connected to my high school years if I'd let more people get to know me. If I'd found my niche, been a part of something consistently rather than haphazardly, I'd have changed my story. I didn't have to feel invisible. Working on the reunion has brought me a lot of satisfaction and has connected me to people I never would have gotten to know otherwise. I'm looking forward to seeing my old friends that weekend and getting to know some new friends a little better.
People malign their high school years and I often think it's more about regrets than anything else. Maybe I'm romanticizing this more than I should, but if you could change something about your years in high school, what would it be?