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Saturday, June 11, 2016

Don't You Forget About Me....

I went to see the Breakfast Club last week....on the big screen.  Fabulous...I don't think I ever saw it on the big screen before.  One of my all time favorite movies.  It got me thinking about High School, and labels, and how you really don't know the struggles people carry within them until you get to know them.  I was, if I have to put a label on it, a loner in High School.  I always had one best friend and a boyfriend and that was enough for me.  It still is, if I'm being honest, only my best friend and my boyfriend are the same person finally.  With that being said there is always room for quality people in my life.

When I was in High School I remember feeling like no one really liked me very much.  Maybe because I didn't like myself very much or maybe because I was so self absorbed I thought everything was about me.   Maybe a bit of both.  But regardless I didn't have a good high school experience.  My high school years were okay, it was my time physically IN school that I didn't enjoy. Freshman and Sophomore year were fun but by the time I was a senior I left school at 10:45 am for the day. My friends were made at work, my part time job that was my high school and a place that I felt like I belonged! So, in a class of 1559 students (yes, that's one thousand five hundred and fifty nine)  I didn't get to know very many of them, and that was okay with me at the time.  I didn't keep in touch with ANYONE from High School.  I moved out of the area when I was 20 and I left that part of my life behind and didn't look back.

Through the years I ran into a few classmates.  My hairdresser was one of the most popular girls in school.  She and I became pretty close.  Our boys had play dates and she was very similar to me, she didn't really keep in touch with anyone from school.  I worked with another classmate in the early 90's.  In 1997 I moved back to the area and ran into a few more classmates, but never a lot. Fast forward 30 years and the face book days.  I reconnected with a few high school friends.  In 2010 I saw an elementary school/high school friend here in Arizona.  It was so good to reconnect with her.  I realized that even though we never really knew each other in high school she was an incredible person and I was so happy we reconnected.  We've kept in touch and have seen each other whenever she comes here or I go back to New York.  I asked her how she viewed herself in high school and she said, in one word....invisible.  Yes!  I related to that!  She's certainly not invisible now, she's reconnected with a lot of people from the class of 83 and she's such a kind, loving, fun and fantastic woman.

Reconnecting with her made me realize that some friendships are best left until later in life.  I also realized that growing up in the same neighborhood and attending elementary school together bonds you in a strange sort of way.  It was so nice to be able to mention a place and have her know exactly what I was talking about!  In 2015 I had the pleasure of seeing another elementary/high school friend here in Phoenix.  Her son was attending college here and I spent the day with her and her husband and her other son. She happens to be the same friend I worked with and ran into when I moved back to the area. It was like no time had passed.  And the great part is we didn't dwell on the past stuff we talked about our current lives.  Her family is beyond amazing, her husband made sure to get my son Yankee Tickets when we went to NY in May....just all good things.  I've gotten to see her a few more times both here and in New York and her sons (both live in Phoenix now) and I have had numerous fb conversations---she's a great mom to have raised such phenomenal sons-- I ADORE them!  What a waste that we never hung out in High School....I could have watched those boys grow up.  When I asked her how she described herself in high school she said "determined"...makes sense.  That one I'll agree with, and she still is!

Last winter I reconnected with another friend when I was in NY.  We had spoken via face book over the summer.  She helped me through my mom's death and we just developed a great friendship.  She has married a great guy that we went to High School with after years of friendship. While we had lunch I got to talk to another friend that I knew from my brother's hockey days.  Her hubby pulled some strings while my dad was in the hospital and it was just so nice to realize that it's never too late to discover what amazing people you went to high school with.  I asked her how she saw herself in high school and she said "serious, way too serious"  She's certainly has lifted that label, she's so much fun to be around and she has an incredible view on life!

Here's a real twist, I've reconnected with another classmate that I don't remember ever meeting in School.  She said we were in a business class together, I never paid attention to anything around me (don't tell anyone but I still don't ;) )  I'm moving this summer and I'll be about 40 minutes or so from her.  We've had several lengthy conversations.  We both lost parents to cancer in the last year and we've bonded over that as well.  During the week she was at her father's house when he passed she came across some old pictures from graduation.  Keep in mind there were 1559 people there.  She sent me one and said "Is this you?"  I was like ummmm yup.  Where the hell did you get that?  She sent me the whole picture.  She was sitting right next to me!!!!  What were the odds?  Our friendship was CLEARLY meant to be.  How she described herself?  A Floater....I identify with that too!  I still do!

Last week I got to reconnect with another classmate here in Phoenix.  She was here on a business conference and reached out to me to get together.  I was so happy!  And a bit shocked, I confessed to her that I didn't think she liked me very much in high school.  Truth is we did hang out in Middle School and in High School she became a Cheerleader.  I am pretty sure I let my assumptions of cheerleaders taint my view of her.  She was and is such a sweetheart!  We had a great dinner and bonded over our children and our faith and I felt like I met a new friend instead of reconnecting with an old one.

So, with all of my reunion stories I've learned 1 main thing....everyone has their own stuff.  Not just in High School, but in life! By looking at all of these ladies in High School it was easy to think they had it all together.  That they had happy home lives and easy friendships and relationships.  It was easy to think I was the only one with insecurities and that my intentions and thoughts were obvious to those around me.  I just assumed that people knew my thoughts and feelings without my speaking them.  How many times have you done that?  How many relationships were fractured because of that?  I can't count.  Or by snap judgements of someone?  Oh they're geeks, stuck up, weird, mean, out of my league - the list goes on. To think of the many magical moments I've missed out on by not being open to them.  Not gonna happen again.  I will look at people from the inside out and never assume to know what I haven't been told.  I had such an easy childhood.  I assumed everyone else's was the same.  There was no yelling in my home, my parents were deeply in love with one another, my siblings teased me, but loved me and took care of me always.  I thought everyone had that.  Honestly?  In all my dealings with people I have NEVER found anyone who had that.  If only I knew then what I know now......but I didn't.  So, the best I can do is carry this information forward and allow it to touch my relationships now.  After all....it's just a day in the life.
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