I’ve heard there are some people who won’t attend our high school’s 30th reunion because they are “too fat.”
I am plainly twice the man I was in high school. I am heavy and balding and need glasses and look absurd next to the high school graduation picture of myself (which was always, and remains absurd). Anyone not attending the reunion because they are fat– and I suspect few are– should just take a look at the rest of us.
Hi. We’re 48. We’re doughy and dowdy and victims of the ‘80s. We were On a Road to Nowhere while busy Not Starting the Fire and being In Your Eyes. While we Just Said No, Frankie Said Yes. We Rocked the Casbah, at least as much as one could in suburban Boston before 11pm. Now we’re achy, and our feet hurt, and it’s not because of the Diamonds on the Soles of our Shoes, either.
At first blush the 30th reunion seems like one you might skip. Surely the 25th is a more widely acceptable marker of time. But the 25th wasn’t that big a deal, with all of us loosely connected by social media. Here’s why the 30th is so interesting: many of us are the age our parents were when we smeared soapy SENIORS 1986! on the back of the family station wagon.
It’s 2016. We have become our parents. (And at least two of us have become grandparents.) Sure, there are those in my class who have younger kids. A couple even have toddlers, God bless ‘em. My goal was to be “40 and diaper free” and I beat the mark handily. But the bulk of us are parenting teenagers.
To me, the 30th reunion is where it’s at. It’s life affirming. All the pretty girls who dated the jocks arrive on the arms of far nerdier husbands. They look at those guys, shake their heads and chuckle: “What was I on?” Successful men and woman happily discuss life, not caring a fig for those who used to tease them. There are guys who peaked in Junior year, doing shots with beer chasers, the ones who never left, the ones who won’t shut up about LA, and the ones who got fat/skinny/rich/lucky/weird/cool. It all just sort of worked out.
You don’t believe in karma? Go to your reunion.
You’re not the success you hoped to be? So what? We’re Generation X. There are books dedicated to our underachieving. Downplay it if you’ve got it, commiserate if you don’t. We don’t care. Are you healthy? Kids good? Sox win today? Great. Let’s get a drink.
You’re fat. I’m bald and farsighted. She lost her job. I got cancer. He didn’t make it on Wall Street. That guy? You don’t want to know. It doesn’t matter. We’re here. Our kids? It’s their time now. Their graduation pictures are on Facebook, and they look young and pretty and perfect. We’re soft and wrinkling. We’re carrying the weight of the world, a mortgage, tuition payments, fantastic and failing relationships, and nearly two decades of Dunkin’ Donuts.
I’m fine with that. You should be, too. Let’s get a drink.
Happy 30th Reunion.
Whew! You were a handsome lad Steve, what happened? Bwahahaha! As men, women are always complaining that we age better than they do, so if nothing else you’re ahead of half the attendees. Ha! it is so true though, after you’ve been through what many euphemistically call life, looks just don’t seem to be as big a criteria for success. In our cases, being alive is being successful. Now mind you there was a lot of learning that got us here (along with some luck), so hopefully we’re wiser if not prettier. Speaking of Wiser – that also happens to be a Canadian whiskey – my oncologist insisted that the odd shot (less than 2 per day) was good for me – would you care to join me in toasting life?
To life, to life, l’chaim! Thanks for sharing the good stuff. – SAS