*** This essay was originally posted on 7/24/13 ***
My 20th High School Reunion was a week or so ago…
I stayed home. I stayed in my comfy clothes and played Words With Friends with a friend I’ve known since middle school. I didn’t want to brave the age old tradition where I might be faced with basic questions like place of employment, marital status, or where I feel like my success and happiness is on a scale of 1 to 10.
In the months leading up to the reunion I had some difficulty deciding whether to attend or not. At the 10 year reunion it honestly didn’t even occur to me to think very deeply about whether I would attend the planned festivities. I was a new mom and I was right where I had chosen to be in my life…
Career of my choice- check
Happily married- check
…so I was excited and deliciously curious about reconnecting with friends from the past. I was also still marching to the drum of conformity in my life, so I was not even aware of the conflict within my soul.
Sure I dealt with the anxiety that one faces when attempting to squeeze my *just had a baby* body into a cute little black dress I had no business wearing postpartum. I silenced the fear/jealousy/inadequacy/pettiness/just plain ol’ fashion meanness and I put on my masked smile and graceful countenance. Then I dragged dh along on my descent into high school memory lala-land. I regretted that *decision* immediately upon entrance to the hotel where our banquet was being held and that feeling stuck with me the whole night. It was like a monkey on my back and I just couldn’t shake it.
The timing this time around isn’t nearly as neat a fit for me; that and everyone I know is on Facebook now, so I’ve pretty much had my curiosity satiated regarding what my fellow classmates are up to these days. The reality of my life in this season is messy and lacks an airbrushed photoshop appeal. Though my head knows I’m most certainly not alone in this reality, the 17 year old girl within my heart is still not convinced.
My chosen life, well…
If by *career* you mean kid wrangler/referee/ taxi driver/no fun voice of reason- then check.
If by *happily married* you mean the honeymoon is a distant memory so now it’s a daily decision, not an experiential bliss in this season- then check.
If by *blissfully mothering* you mean bliss comes only while tuning out the noise of little people who refer to me as mom, just to crush some candy- then check.
I can fake it on Facebook, but I will not put myself through the misery of attempting to fake anything at that level of magnitude in real life. I don’t even want to fake it anymore, because I am okay with reality. Here’s the thing…when I am fully present with my own reality, I am really good with my chosen life, especially because of the messiness. When I am not excessively anxious about what everyone else seems to be pretending to do, then I am deeply connected with the peace that my life is exactly where it needs to be. I can’t condense this truth into cocktail banter with people I don’t know anymore except by their profile picture and airbrushed Facebook presence. And so, I did not make myself climb into my 17 year old self suit and pretend it still fits my life.
Hey, I’m mature enough to acknowledge that attending my high school reunion is a choice that I exercised by staying home, but not yet mature enough to show up to said reunion as my true self…thus the Words With Friends Marathon and subsequent blog post in which I’m publicly processing/ defending my decision on the internet. You know…because that makes sense.
I guess there is always another decade to develop such skills, but if there is any luck, something newfangled will pop up and kill Facebook for us…and I’ll be saved again.
One Can Only Hope.