Sunday, February 24, 2013

Thanks for the invite, but I'm not going

Days tend to melt together. You get so wrapped up in the immediate that often a day ticks by with barely an acknowledgment it happened at all.
T-shirts and bumper stickers tell us to seize the day, make every day count, live life to the fullest, but most of us don’t do that.
We go from one day to the next, trapped in a mind-numbing work week broken up only by two days where we can venture from routine and do what we want.
But day fades to week, week fades to month and month fades to year until an event arises that reminds us time is truly marching on.
For me that little slap in the face happened when I opened an email and saw it was a notice of my, gulp, 30-year high school reunion.
Suddenly, I felt very old. My mind wandered back to those horrific days of high school where each passing sunset meant I was one day closer to freedom from the government-sponsored prison that was secondary school.
Once I forced those memories back into the dark recess from which they crept, I began to wonder where the last three decades went.
When I graduated high school I thought a 30 year old was a senior citizen. I was a typical teen filled with the bravado of youth and the knowledge that I knew everything there was worth knowing. I knew 30 was ancient, now my graduation date is 30 years old, so that would make me, um, well, never mind.
As I alluded to, school was not a very rewarding experience. As anyone who was bullied in school knows, it can have a profound impact on your life.
My entire focus during school was to graduate and get as far away from those jerks, I mean, classmates as possible. Breaking out of the seventh level of hell was my only priority and once that was achieved I spent a couple years drifting aimlessly wondering what to do next.
I then married an amazing woman, went to college and launched my career, so when the notice of my 10-year reunion arrived, I decided to return and see those butt monkeys, I mean classmates.
There were a few people in my grad class I liked and considered friends, but the majority would not have spit on me if I was on fire.
I must admit, I really enjoyed my 10-year reunion. The first thing I noticed was many had swelled over the past decade. It is like they were put in this universal fat-adding machine. Many of the jocks had less hair and more gut, while many of the jockettes were also not as trim as they once were.
I was in the best shape I had been in years, so it was enjoyable to poke their blubber bellies and make comments about their girth. It was at that reunion I realized I was not the skinny, wisp of a person I was back in ’83 who hid in the shadows, and they could see it as well.
Another decade passed and I headed off to my 20-year reunion where the swelling of people had really taken off. Some were still in pretty good shape, but those who had bloated at the 10-year event were even more so now.
I was not in as good of shape as I was for the first gathering, but I kept active with my beloved martial arts so I was again one of the leaner participants.
The atmosphere of the second gathering was different than the first. Most of us talked about our kids and all the fun youngsters bring with them. I guess as we all simultaneously edged toward 40 we viewed life through much more mature eyes.
Now, I am a few months away from my 30th reunion and I am going to do things a little differently this time around: I’m not going.
I have zero contact with anyone I graduated with, save for a few connections on Facebook so instead of meeting with a bunch of people I do not know, I think I will take my wife somewhere for the weekend and really enjoy my time away from work.

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