I never want to be 17 again

I know this is a bad photo, but I loved the varying degrees of blur — and that my husband was the only one who didn’t blur, handsome lad that he is

Saturday was the celebration of the 20-year reunion of the KCHS class of 1985. Whoopee. Well, it was more fun than that, but I’m still digesting the experience.

I debated about whether to go. I’m friends with just a couple of people from high school these days. A few others I miss, but distance and time have come between us. The rest, not bitterly in the majority of cases, just aren’t people who’ve been part of my life over the past two decades.

So why reconvene with them? I thought since I’d skipped the 10-year, I’d have a go at this one. I gussied myself up (as much as I ever gussy) in a chartreuse dress (because I knew everyone would be wearing black) with a semi-low neckline, along with some strappy heels and only about ten pounds more weight than I carried around back in those days.

It wasn’t all bad. But I felt helplessly pulled back to my 17-year-old self. And I didn’t like that feeling at all. I’ve grown enormously since then. Since I was that shy, intimidated, fly-below-the-radar girl. I’ve grown some confidence, some wisdom, and some humor about the things life throws my way. Yet that all seemed to drift away when I entered the ballroom.

Because of that, because I felt so shy and unsure of myself again, I know that I missed a few opportunities to reconnect with people. Across the tables during dinner I spied several classmates I longed to say “hello” to, but couldn’t muster the courage to approach them. Instead, I bumped clumsily into clusters of people and attached myself to those who had the friendliest smiles.

Those smiles protected me from the handful who proclaimed, “I don’t remember you!” Loudly usually. Those were the most uncomfortable moments. People peering at my name tag and scratching their heads. “You were in our class?” Yeah, dude, I was. Along with 320-some other people. Get over it.

I took it way too personally, I know. Upon reflection. But in the midst of those crowds of people, I just wanted to leave. Screw reunions, man. This is a drag. I’m happy with my life now. I don’t feel like I need to attend these shindigs to show people that fact. The purposefully chosen chartreuse dress aside.

It wasn’t my favorite experience. It wasn’t my worst. Like I said, I’m still evaluating some of it. But it was worth it to run into some old friends. An ophthamologist who’s in Indiana now. An actuary I’d lost touch with a few years back. A chemist who makes balloon animals on the spot. A scientist who’s expecting twins this fall. A chef who used to be a little dweeb who played Dungeons and Dragons, but who now has a bit of a rock-star look to him. A banker who has two young girls and married another boy from our class who’s now a police officer.

I made those connections. And I’m glad. I’ll just have to decide, ten years from now, whether I feel like making them again.