Celebrate Good Times C’mon! – My 25th High School Reunion

 

Conant High School 25th reunion Allison Goodman Spaitis & Karen Eng

Conant High School 25th reunion
Allison Goodman Spaitis & Karen Eng

 

Is it truly a milestone when you’re invited to your 25th high school reunion?  I’m not convinced it’s a milestone, but more of a celebration of life amongst my peers – many of whom I’ve grown up with since the second grade.  Obviously, I felt different compared to my 10 year reunion and I can clearly state why.  I was at a different stage in my life – newly engaged and a few years out of graduate school.  At the 25th year high school reunion, we are in our early 40s, have been working for a couple decades, and (lightly or heavily) seasoned in marriage, family, and children.  Here are a few things that I took away from the evening that I believe are true across the board whether you’re attending a reunion or not:

  1. Be proud of yourself, but tone down the bragging.  It seemed like most of my classmates were comfortable sharing what was going on in their lives.  Whether a professional or stay at home mom or a combination, it didn’t matter.  Their eyes lit up when they were talking about their children and/or their satisfaction with their career choice.  It made for such a great evening with no “one upping” each other.
  2. Enjoy talking about the past, but be optimistic that the best is still to come.  There were a couple of stories about high school, but they were good memories that made the group smile.  Memories are great, but if you are stuck in high school, it limits the possibilities of what the world can offer.
  3. Be genuinely happy for your friends, acquaintances, peers, classmates, family versus compare yourself to them or be jealous.  It was a genuine pleasure to listen to what my high school friends were currently doing.    It was inspiring to hear what made them happy, and seriously, I felt everyone was SO nice.
  4. Eliminate the variables so you have the confidence to talk to whomever you interact with.  Since you haven’t seen some people in awhile, of course, you want to look good.  I would think that new haircuts, new makeup, and new fashion will make you self conscious.  I recommend wearing that outfit that matches the venue and that you feel great in.
  5. Keep in touch with everyone to keep updated on their lives.  Facebook has been an excellent tool to keep in touch.  A quick flip through your news feed (or if you’re lucky like I am, you have an amazing coordinator who sets up a reunion page), and you have some great prep conversation when you get to the venue.  Quick tip: just reveal baseline information so you don’t cross the line of Facebook stalking.

In addition, I connected with a few more friends after the reunion which made the evening even more worth while.  Although I can’t recall how much I enjoyed high school, I truly appreciated an evening with no cliques, no obsession about popularity, and no gossiping.

Invitation: Can we incorporate these mantras in our everyday life?

 

Birthday gift to myself

bday2013It’s interesting how people celebrate their birthdays each year.  My nine year old was super excited, and relishes being a year older.  Our office manager simply says that we can’t celebrate her birthday.  And on Facebook, I feel so popular with over 70 of my friends wishing me a happy birthday.

Since I was 21 years old, I have a birthday ritual.  I wake up before everyone, and read the letter I wrote to myself 10 years ago.  It’s quite exciting seeing the letter and unsealing it.   The format of my letter never changes.  It is broken into three parts.  The first is a synopsis of the past year that includes highlights of my professional career, my personal life, and my relationships with my family and friends.  The second part is setting some goals for the next year.    And the final section is what I look forward to the most.  It is my younger self predicting what I am like ten years later and asking questions to my older self.

The most difficult part of the 10-year letter is waiting for the first time you can open your letter.

My priorities have changed through the years, and quite frankly, the issues that were pressing at the time, I typically don’t remember ten years later.  A lot of the predictions that I have made have come true.  I believe this is because your behaviors may change over the years, but beliefs rarely do.

Invitation:  Consider writing a birthday letter to yourself as a way to document your memories and inspire your future self.