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A Word About High School Reunions

I just returned from Knoxville, Tennessee, where I attended my 50th high school reunion.  (You may have read about it on the internet.)

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “You’re not nearly old enough to have been out of high school that long!”  That’s what you’re thinking, right?

Well, yes, I am, and that’s not a bad thing.

I want to share just a few of my observations:

  • Growing up in a small community and attending a small school had many advantages.  Life was probably less complicated than in larger communities and schools.  And when you are in a smaller pond, everyone has the opportunity to be a bigger fish.
  • Invariably, we got older, and aging always entails learning! By the time you are 67-68 years old, you’ve learned a lot, much of which you have learned the hard way.
  • You’ve learned to never say “never.”  Because as soon as you think something can never happen to you, it will.
  • You’ve learned to take one step and one day at a time.  When you think about it, that is our only real option.  We can allow our minds to gallop ahead and worry about tomorrow (or next year!), or we can stay mired in the past, but all we can really do is live today, this hour, this minute!
  • You’ve learned that there are many “gains” in life: professional and material, but especially personal–marriages, children and grandchildren!
  • You’ve learned that there is no smooth path in life, that “aging is not for sissies!”
  • You’ve learned about loss and grief.
  • You’ve lost people who have meant a great deal to you:  parents, spouses, children and dear friends.
  • You may have lost portions of your health.
  •  You’ve learned about what is really important in life and what is not!
  • You’ve learned that the traditional “status symbols” (houses, cars, clothes, etc.) are just not important in the grand scheme of things, and . . .
  • You’ve learned the how essential certain people are–people who truly care, people you can trust and respect, people with whom you feel safe and secure and connected, people with whom you can share your lives your gains and your losses.

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