I hesitated before typing the word on Facebook to describe my 20 year high school reunion. I said, “It was epic”. As expected, another former classmate, who lives out of state, and was unable to attend the reunion called me on it.
It wasn’t epic like a summer blockbuster movie. There wasn’t a brawl between a former jock and an outcast like a distant relative’s 20 year reunion. (Thankfully). It was epic like Homer’s Odyssey. It was like the hero’s defining moment when he realizes he already possessed the trait’s he’d been searching for on his quest. It was life affirming.
Spending an evening with people I went to high school with, reminded me of what I liked most about them. It reminded me of why I, for the most part, enjoyed high school. I was able to spend time with people who have logged more hours with me and witnessed a lot of my character defining moments. Newer friends won’t have that same experience. My family members are the only other people in my life of that will do that. Because we are related, their perspectives may tint our perception of the same situation.
I spent my reunion talking, laughing, taking pictures, and smiling. I smiled so much, that my cheeks hurt after 3 hours …and it felt great. It was epic, because after years of searching for who I am and where I fit in, I belonged. I was home. I was surrounded by friends, and acceptance. I didn’t have to waste time making small talk to feel a person out, because I already had established relationships. I was able to bypass the getting-to-know-you pleasantries and dive into the deep stuff I cared about. I was able to just be Jen… without all of the labels, and burdens I carry with me most of the time. I felt a sense of peace and belonging in a way that I haven’t in the 3 years that my husband and I moved to a new town, because I was home.
As an adult, it can be difficult to make new friends. Friends are often chosen by circumstances like where you live or work, or children with similar ages or your church attendance. With adult responsibilities, time spent with friends can fall to the bottom of the list of priorities. Relationships take time and energy to nurture, and we have a finite supply of both. I haven’t made it a very high priority, and now realize that I need to spend more time with friends. I would encourage you to do the same if it’s been awhile.
My 20 year high school reunion was epic, because I realized that over the past year preparing for the reunion, and past 2 decades searching for who I am, plenty of people know and like me. Sometimes, it takes spending time with people who have known you for a long time to remember who you are.