My 20 year reunion is creeping ever closer. Although I will not be attending, I am ever more curious about what has happened to my classmates; where they have landed; and the professions that they have chosen. It is always interesting to see how much people changed or perhaps how little I knew about them in high school - perhaps how little they knew about themselves.
And what about me? Would those who knew me way back when be surprised at where I am now?
Yes and no I would guess.
I look back on the 17 year old girl that I was and realize that I kind of knew the direction I wanted to take, but I am not sure that anyone else did. I never had a "calling" to go one way or another, but after seeing the "Day After", the direction of my career was set. I would do something that involved international relations and the government.
Pretty vague, no?
Despite a few side roads and stops to smell the flowers, my profession has stayed on track. Reaching my ultimate goal is taking much longer than expected, but then again, perhaps the best journeys are those that take a bit longer and include various surprises along the way.
But 20 years is a long period of time when I stop and think about it. Twenty years that, for me, were about travel and school and motherhood and adjustment.
I was never one of those who had ideas regarding the future of each classmate. I never tried to predict "this person will be..." (My daughter is not so fortunate as I enjoy trying to figure out what she will do professionally 'after the dance career' that is) I know that there are classmates who have had wonderful military careers while others have gone into medicine and business. There are teachers, parents, singles, divorces, and a few classmates are no longer with us. And, there are a few like me who are making the best of the hand that we are dealt. A friend of mine, 2500 miles away, recently sent me this. She was in the top of our class and looking forward to a career - even a few years ago she was looking ahead to a profession:
Unfortunately, I don’t think there is anyway to have the best of both worlds. That is why I’m still where I’m at and basically don’t have a “career”. I can’t imagine how I could get through and help my kids if I didn’t get off when I did or I had to work overtime, etc. so I’ve just stayed here where they work with my hours and let me take care of my kids. It’s just not easy being a working mother, that’s for sure.
I know that she is not alone as she is exactly where I am. I am sure that we are not alone! But how many of us are here? Where have we ended up? Inquiring minds want to know!
I am not sorry to not be attending my reunion. I know some live for these events and others thrive on them once the time approaches. I never really have a desire to attend. However, that natural curiosity persists. I want to read about the surprises and the journeys that others have taken. I want to say "Wow" because the guy that nearly dropped out is now this amazing success story and cheer for each of us because... well, we survived high school and that, in itself, is something to celebrate!