HOW MY 40TH HIGH SCHOOL REUNION MADE ME A BETTER PERSON

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen, nor touched …but are felt in the heart. “ (Helen Keller)

Last weekend I celebrated my 40th reunion with other classmates from Natick High School. The night was a culmination of several months of hard work and dedication by our reunion committee, of which I am a member. Each person had a role in making the reunion a success. When I decided to take this task on for the second time in ten years I had no idea that it would be a life-changing role for me.

By the age of 57 we have all had struggles, lost loved ones, and have had to come to terms with tough illnesses. Some of us had to take a long hard look in the mirror and accept some things about ourselves that we cannot change. This is the time in our lives that we should feel comfortable in our own skin. Our exterior – beauty, success, money, power – is inconsequential. When it comes right down to it, it is the human connection; the heart of a person that really matters.

When I was in high school I was not popular and not unpopular. I had my own small group of friends to which I was connected. Most of the 700+ people in my class didn’t know who I was and even though I felt important to my small circle of friends, I had much insecurity about myself. I felt lost in a sea of faces and names. Not knowing who I was, what I was here for, or where I was going made me feel insignificant and unworthy. Graduating high school was the highlight of those four long years but the insecurities stayed with me for many years.

Flash forward forty years. In my efforts to appeal to all of my graduating class to come to the reunion I made a decision to open my heart to my fellow classmates. For a couple of months I wrote regularly on our high school Facebook page. Trying to tear down the walls of insecurity over being too fat, too thin, jobless, wrinkled, debilitated, depressed, or any other reason to not want to be seen by the rest of the class, my posts were meant to make everyone feel like they would be not only welcomed to the reunion, but loved for who they are. Once I started writing I began to notice that other classmates were opening up about their lives and people started to let their guard down for perhaps the first time. I also received many private messages from classmates telling me about significant losses in their lives and I felt honored that they were able to open up to me. I made it my goal to try to hug and welcome each classmate that came to the reunion.

The night of the reunion I was so overwhelmed by the affection, love, and gratitude from many of my old and now new friends. I realized that by putting myself out there, being vulnerable, and having an open heart I had received the greatest gift of all.

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10 Comments

  1. Paula Curtis said,

    May 1, 2013 at 1:35 am

    Beautifully stated and heartfelt. Your words brought me to tears. All your hard work has not gone unnoticed. We are very thankful that you cared enough to bring us all together.

    • lapetinaa said,

      May 1, 2013 at 1:41 am

      This is what life’s about, isn’t it? Making deep connections with people; seeing into each others souls. I got so much more out of this than anyone else. I thank YOU!

  2. jack trabucco said,

    May 1, 2013 at 2:37 am

    Amy, Your story is incredible from start to finish. I agree that you made many of our classmates feel more comfortable with your daily charge or message to us. Thanks for giving so much to make the reunion the success that it was. It was a night we will ALL remember with such positive thoughts. I was actually sad when I pushed the glass door open to go home for the evening. It marked the end of a night that the class of ’73 will always cherish.

    • lapetinaa said,

      May 1, 2013 at 2:45 am

      As I said to Paula, I got more out of doing this than what I gave to it. It was a real growth experience for me. I’m glad you were a part of it!!

  3. jcwhudson said,

    May 1, 2013 at 3:15 am

    Treasured moments. XXOO

  4. lapetinaa said,

    May 1, 2013 at 10:57 am

    Yes, they are, Joyce. A reunion I will never forget.
    xxxxxx

  5. Lorraine Fuson Johnson said,

    May 5, 2013 at 3:08 pm

    Amy, you give us all courage to face the past & head straight into our future with the wisdom of our 57+ years of life. Thank you for your words, and I wish I could have been there. I hope next time (thanks to you & Paula Curtis), I will not be afraid to come back.

    • lapetinaa said,

      May 5, 2013 at 5:28 pm

      I’m so glad that you will consider coming to our next reunion. There was such a feeling of acceptance and love at this one. We shouldn’t hide who we are; we should celebrate it!!

  6. June 20, 2013 at 12:14 am

    Your imprint is on so much Amy. Thanks. Lots of things were said the night of the reunion. Lots of things were left unsaid but still faintly heard. There is an energy calling for many of us to be closer. I think many of us realized that those years together at NHS bonded us in ways that we have yet to fully discover. I’m certain that I will continue to grow closer to some of my classmates. I’m excited. Let the journey continue!


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