“Things are great . . . with an asterisk.”
After first seeing the Facebook announcement for my 35th High School Reunion, I looked at it. Then I looked at it again.
The passage of 35 years was so hard to conceive and my arithmetic so weak, I took out paper and pen and subtracted 1981 from 2016.
Gag me . . . it had been 35 years.
I vowed to lose 5 pounds. Take every yoga class for the next four months. Pick out a dress. Face lift. Butt lift. Skin-on-my-legs-especially-the-skin-above-my-knees lift.
Months passed and it was two weeks till the reunion. I weighed about the same. I’d made it to three yoga classes the month of August. Nothing had been surgically lifted, so I packed some make-up, a pair of Spanx and rubbed self-tanner on my legs. Though I did think it the perfect excuse to get a facial.
Random thoughts on attending your 35th High School Reunion.
— Commit to going. Don’t think about it. No one ever gives birth or adopts children, signs up for a marathon or goes to a class reunion if they ruminate on it.
— Note to the venue. For the love of Mike, when most party-goers are over 50 — dim the lights on the dance floor.
— Try on the dress you decide to wear before the night of the party. I bought a dress last spring and never once had it on again until the night of the reunion. Whatever mojo I felt in the dressing room wasn’t there reunion night. Didn’t like it. At all. Thankfully, I did bring another dress. But logic says to try the dress on before leaving your closet in the rear view mirror six hours down the road.
— To those who went to high school in Florida and haven’t lived there in a while. HAVE A BACKUP PLAN FOR YOUR HAIR. I completely forgot about the Florida humidity. It was raining as well. My hair went up in a coated rubber band.
— Your mother can show up at the party before you, talk to people, and you laugh about it. If my mother would have shown up to a high school party 35 years prior, I’d have dropped out of Winter Park and enrolled at Edgewater under an alias.
My 83-year-old mother dropped by the party before I arrived. (She was eating in the adjoining restaurant.) She walked in and started talking to all my high school friends, and some of their children. When I arrived my friend Ann said, “Did you know your mother was here?” She laughed saying, “I looked up and thought that’s Jamie’s mother . . . this is wild.”
High School Reunions are wild in a Twilight Zone sort of way.
Facebook is for cowards. Nothing can substitute the authenticity found in a face-to-face conversation after 35 years.
I heard a great phrase today. Out having breakfast in Madison, we were approached by an acquaintance we hadn’t seen in a while. He asked the standard “How are things?”
We gave the standard reply, “Things are great.”
To which he said with a smile, “Things are great with us too . . . with an asterisk.”
By the time you’re heading to your 35th High School Reunion, everybody can say, “Life is great . . . with an asterisk.”
Asterisks don’t discriminate. They are equal opportunity offenders in the form of losing loved ones, of divorce or divorces, children heartbreak. Financial struggles or collapse. Job traumas. Battling illness as if our lives depended on it. And the universal of challenge of experiencing our young selves — becoming not so young at all.
We’ve have lost the urge to play the comparison game to feel better about ourselves. If I asked you what you’ve been doing the last 35 years, I was truly interested in finding out your journey. Not to boast on my superstar decades headlining as wife, mother — and writing a blog.
On Facebook you get a bunch of amazing photos. Ones people post after they deleted the first fifteen they took.
It is a great way to keep up but,
With Facebook you can’t throw your arms about somebody’s neck in a squeeze or learn how fun life can be with a sugar monkey. Or giggle with friends you giggled with 35 years ago.
So as Nike said back in the day,
Just do it and go to that reunion.
What’s to lose? It was quick. Just a few hours and then done.
Just like high school.
Just like the last 35 years.