Recently I accepted an invitation to my 30th high school reunion. At first, sudden shock waves ran through my entire body like a bolt of electro shock therapy applied to McMurphy in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. The shock therapy, for better or worse with regards to the delinquent case of Jack Nicholson's crazy man act, caused more of a stir of entertainment than any sense of therapy for the wayward character McMurphy. Of course, it was the lobotomy, in the end of the movie that finally tranquillized McMurphy into a puddle of nothing, before Big Chief gave him a reprieve with the pillow treatment.
At the 20 year reunion, you could notice the difference in fellow cast mates, otherwise disguised as former class mates. Boys with a head full of hair suddenly had none, or the rail thin gals were suddenly either pregnant, recovering from pregnancies or entering the throws of peri-menopause. I was one of those poor gals who was constantly battling the last 30 lbs of baby weight, from my 2 children who were in their senior year of high school, and entering college as a freshman.
Here is sit, approaching the 30th reunion, and somehow the intentions of defeating the now permanent fixture of baby weight still hangs around reminding me that I am no longer 17, and my body has betrayed me. Such are the cruel acts of mother nature. Why be referred to as Mother Nature, when she seems to attack females more than men? Isn't there such a thing as camaraderie in the estrogen world? Nope. Once again, women seem to be their own worst enemies. I feel like Erma Bombeck and her book about life being a bowl of cherries, but now some how squatting in a bowl of cast off pits.
Nearing 50 seems to turn both men and women into the world of the mid life crisis. I'm not sure which carries more scars. The middle east crisis or the middle age one. You become a battle ground for hormones that wage war on your body. A sex drive isn't sure if you are living in a Penthouse Magazine or an out of date Ladies Home Journal. I suppose I'd take a little of both, just to know I am on an even keel. At least at this age, I've learned that making sex tapes are unwise, unless you are Kim Kardashian or Pamela Anderson & Tommy Lee and strange sounds coming from my husband during his sleep cycles are a normal part of life. Even more is the fact that a tattoo at 21 no longer appears as it did before estrogen zapped all the collagen out of your body. Whew, I escaped that one, along with the sex tape.
A reunion gives you the opportunity to cruise backwards to days where daydreaming at the beach was all you needed and that suntanning should have been a sport. Summer vacations never seemed to end, and the return to school, fresh from summer keg parties and the often smoked joint, were seldom admitted to. I started to realize that those days were some of the best. Not the smoking joints (yes, I smoked a few in my time, and keg parties were a blast) - but days where you shouldn't have a worry in the world. The most troubling event might be a geometry exam that you failed to study for. Truth be told, I never understood that bloody quadrangle crap.
Upon meeting classmates, there are the proverbial meet and greet hugs, and "wow, you look great" and then bellying up to the bar to get the nervous, trying to fit in cocktail to loosen you up. My drinking days are long gone, but somehow holding a glass in my hand makes the nerves less jumpy. Gone are the red solo cup days, (please insert Toby Keith here) being replaced by the sophisticated martini to look good, hard liquor on the rocks, to proclaim you are the victor of the bar (my fave was the Jameson, rocks and water on the side) and dainty chards or Zinfandels for the puss who isn't sure of themselves. No one wishes to admit that they drank a Mickey's Big Mouth or Lowenbrau at the drive ins or at infamous all night ragers, while some one's parents were out of town.
Then come the questions of "what do you do for a living". Recently, a friend said to me..."wouldn't it be wonderful if someone approached you with questions more along the lines of, what interests you, or what are your passions", rather than questions that are intended to somewhat validate your success in life. If after 30 years, all you have to say is, I have worked hard, yet never camped overnight in the rain with my kids, or crashed and burned on a ski slope, or took my wife on a second honeymoon, then in my opinion, you really haven't experienced life yet. Success comes in many forms. Sometimes it is 5 o'clock somewhere.