My 45 Year Class Reunion via Zoom

79 of my former classmates met last Sunday night on Zoom for our 45 year reunion.  I signed up and paid to go and then had what can best be described as an emotional relapse to the way I felt about myself and how I believed others perceived me dating back to 1975.  Instead of holding it in and possibly talking myself out of attending, I decided to post my insecurity on our group Facebook page.  The reactions were surprising and a touching reminder of the wonderful people that I spent my high school years with. 

Several folks thanked me for admitting something they were feeling as well; some shared their memory of who I was (friendly and outgoing…something I had to be reminded of).  One person came out about who he was and had been way back then.  I’m as sick as my secrets.  I went from feeling nervous and awkward to being genuinely excited to hear how others have been doing the last 45 years. 

I showered, put on a little make-up, and got dressed as if I was going out for a casual evening with old friends, which I was.  Nervously, I logged in 20 minutes early, impatiently sitting in the “waiting room”.  As the time drew near, I was allowed in, and it is hard to describe my excitement.  We have all aged (some remarkably better than others).  I looked at the names because it was hard to recognize some by their face.  I felt the enthusiasm and energy in everyone’s voices as they joined.

I noticed that all those I considered the “cool kids” didn’t intimidate me anymore.  Truthfully I thought it would.  The organizers did an amazing job.  They put together quite a program.  Several people, including myself, were asked throughout the evening to share for 90 seconds on what was going on with them.  Several were highlighted that had become quite accomplished in their field. 

After 45 years, we lost too many too soon.  After all, we are all around 63.  A beautiful memoriam was shown of them.  It was a stark reminder that we only have today.

The musical talent of our class was quite remarkable.  They recorded the most incredible rendition of a song that we all listened to.  I can’t put into words how amazing it was. 

We ended with two opportunities to go to private rooms.  One was with the people we went to junior high with. There was a choice of four different rooms.  The other was based on what extracurriculars we were involved with in high school.  By this time a couple emotions had begun coming up.  The first realization I had was that there was nothing I was involved with in school.  All my activities were religious based and outside school.

As I watched in awe my classmates that had accomplished so much, I began to think: what had I done in 45 years?  Lived in Israel, three failed marriages, ruined my life with drugs but came out of it and have been in recovery for 25 years, 10 years with the same company, and that was it.  It took a couple days to talk myself down from all that, but I did.  I remembered that I’m not in competition with anyone.  My job is to be the best me possible and a little better today than yesterday. 

I realized that I have been concerned that there isn’t much more I can accomplish now that I recently turned 63.  Rather than being intimidated by those that were highlighted, I have chosen to use it as encouragement to accomplish two things that I have always wanted to do.  The goal is to have momentum on both of them to share at our face-to-face reunion next year. 

All the emotional waves turned out to be opportunities to get uncomfortable, vulnerable, and be reminded it is never too late to make my dreams come true.  Our reunion turned out to be so much more than the wonderful three hours we spent together and for that I am beyond grateful!

6 thoughts on “My 45 Year Class Reunion via Zoom

  1. I wish we’d gone to high school together! Oh my dear friend, as U read the post, I heard the search for significance underlying your words but what I want you to know is YOU ARE WORTHY. Yes, we all make mistakes but if we grow from them, they’re good things. Others may seem to have a better or more productive life but each of us are on our own path. The Bible says in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a future and a hope.” G-d has a good and perfect plan for each of us. Our job is to walk in it and not beat ourselves up for the mistakes we make or made. He is loving and forgiving! You are so special, Karen, and have the biggest heart if anyone I know. Anyone would be blessed to call you friend. I love you.

  2. I love this and the thread you put up before our reunion. It was raw, honest and such a relief to so many of us that were feeling the same way. I ended up graduating with a GED because I got pregnant before we graduated. That was a very difficult time for me and not something that happened often in 1975. I was worried about how I would be received because I didn’t finish school with my class. I didn’t know if I’d be welcome to attend. I too, was very happy to be reconnected to so many of you and included. I hung out with the “partying” kids. I thought I was just a bad kid. I didn’t have the greatest home life, but kept it well hidden due to embarrassment. It’s not where you start but where you finish that’s important. I think we’ve both done so much we can be proud of and I’m happy we’ve connected. I hope we can continue the dialogue and explore what makes each of us special. This was truly the first time I felt welcome to our reunion and I’ll never miss another.

  3. Great post! You brought your own feelings to the table and look at how amazingly people responded. So glad you were at the reunion. So glad you blogged about it. We realized after it was over that we actually touched people, many more than we ever imagined. . Life is about the stories. And we all have lots to tell.
    Hugs to you. You are the epitome of a Warrior!

  4. Bonnie…your words always make me smile. Thank you for taking time to share. I’m blessed to have so many wonderful people like you in my life.

  5. Oh I loved this Karen. You keep putting that brutal honesty amd self-truth out there. You are so much braver than you realise. I feel like I’m getting there but I’m still working on myself to get there. It is hard to see or even look back and prepare for feedback from 45yrs ago. Your voice and message is clear and powerful. Know who you are and own it. Inspiring. Thank you for sharing your journey of self.

  6. Hey, Karen. This post is so beautiful. How wonderful that you were able to allow yourself to feel all of your emotions and be vulnerable with them with these people you had been in high school with. I have had similar feelings going to my high school reunions, too. I didn’t go to the early ones so I didn’t keep up the connections. Consequently, I don’t recognize most people’s faces at all, especially the men. So I have carried my old yearbook with me so I could look people up as I ran into them. (These were face-to-face meetings, before the pandemic. We haven’t had a Zoom reunion yet. Maybe we will. That could be fun.)

    And also, don’t be so hard on yourself! You’re ONLY 63 years young, after all. It’s never too late. I started my online freelancing business from nothing but a dream 12 years ago at the age of 62. (That’s okay. Do the math. I don’t care.) Today, I am a successful freelance writer. I actually have to turn clients away because I’m so busy.. And did I mention I was 62 when I started? If I can do it, you can too. Keep following those dreams. They keep us young.

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