When I was in high school, I was sure I would be dead before I reached forty-five. Tomorrow, my high school class will hold its forty-fifth class reunion. I’ve made plans to attend with some wonderful high school friends. I have promised not to lead off when introducing myself with “You probably don’t remember me…” It’s a defense mechanism. When I was a young adult, I asked my Dad why he was such a pessimist. He replied, “If you always expect the worst, when something good happens, you’re pleasantly surprised.” My high-school reunion intro line of reunions past, resulted in a pleasant surprise when someone did remember me.
I have been preparing for this reunion for a few months. I probably should have been reviewing year books, so that I can better remember former classmates, but I haven’t. I purchased neck-firming cream and eyelash growth stimulator. I wanted to improve the possibility of being remembered, by attempting to recapture a modicum of my youthful appearance. I have not been successful. I think I was overly exuberant when applying the neck-firming cream and have stretched my neck tissue resulting in new folds in my already impressive waddle. I developed a sensitivity to mascara in my fifties, so I quit using it. I thought that the eyelash growth stimulator would be better than mascara and rather than giving me the appearance of having thick eyelashes, it would give me thick eyelashes. It did not. Instead, it, like mascara, irritated my eyes which led to a subconjunctival hemorrhage (broken blood vessel in the eye). This totally distracts from my lack of eyelashes, so I guess it was somewhat effective.
Our very generous reunion host sends out emails prior to annual reunions with the time and date, and other useful information. He requests RSVPs and people respond with an affirmative, or an explanation as to why they won’t be available to attend. People have responded to say that they would be in Spain, or in Fiji, or travelling between Spain and Fiji, and would, sadly, have to miss the gathering. Work provided me with an excuse for not attending reunions in the past. Retirement does not afford me that excuse. Neither does travel to Spain or Fiji. The attendees are always gracious, and fun to be around. So, why do I hesitate to attend?
When I was a teenager, I was socially awkward, shy, insecure and introverted. I am no longer shy or introverted. Still, memories of my teenage self can literally terrify me and fill me with shame. I had a group of amazing friends. They were smart, funny, talented, supportive and blind to my character flaws. Boy, I love those guys. So, supported by some of those friends, I will attend, and try not to embarrass them (or myself). Retirement doesn’t get you out of everything, but getting out of the work thing is priceless. So is having good friends from high school forty-five years after graduating.