How To Attend Your 20-Year High School Reunion:

(In 38 EASY steps…because that’s about how old you will be when you need this guide!)

  1. Graduate high school.
  2. Go to college and learn that you might have been too big for your britches. Let the bitches get you down. Aim sights a little lower. 
  3. Get married before you age out of the college dating pool. (Yikes! Mormon women become old maids at 21?!?)
  4. Learn you’ve got five tumors and five years to live. (How did that Tim McGraw song go again? Sky diving, bull riding?!? No thanks!…and what’s a Fu Manchu?)
  5. Keep living. Get confused. 
    • (You: I’m not dead!
    • Cart-master: ‘Ere!  ‘E says ‘e’s not dead!
    • Man: Yes he is.
    • You:     I’m not!
    • Cart-master: ‘E isn’t?
    • Man: Well… he will be soon– he’s very ill…
    • You:     I’m getting better!
    • Man: No you’re not, you’ll be stone dead in a moment…
    • You: I feel happy!)
  6. Go to grad school to have health insurance to pay for the tumors that aren’t showing up to kill you. 
  7. Work. Wash dishes. Grocery shop. Cook. Exercise to burn off the calories. Repeat for three or four years. 
  8. Run a half marathon. (Because that’s what medical professionals do when life isn’t complicated enough—duh!) 
  9. Have a baby. (Because that’s what married people do when life isn’t complicated enough.)
  10. One hundred tiny steps make you realize that your marriage is leaching your essence. Look into your baby’s eyes and know that you must end it, for him.  
  11. Realize YOU can actually live YOUR life for YOU. Start doing it. 
  12. Start a journal. (Start being honest with yourself.) 
  13. Start a blog. (Start being honest with others.)
  14. Spend a few years posting the most literal and vibrant and wounding parts of your life. 
  15. Enjoy kind or thoughtful comments from your parents, sisters and a few other people. 
  16. Wonder if anyone else thinks it’s any good. Wonder if you’re any good. Play whack-a-mole with ego…for years? …Forever?
  17. Make mistakes. Write about those. 
  18. Win victories. Write about those.
  19. Get to know yourself. Write about her. 
  20. Discover that it’s been t-w-e-n-t-y years since you graduated high school. 
  21. Decide that you can attend your reunion because now, unlike 10 years ago, you can show up as your ACTUAL self.
  22. Get really nervous that you’ve made a huge mistake. Go down the rabbit hole of past failures and insecurities. No one will like you because they know you walked out on them 20 years ago and didn’t look back. They will know you are ridiculous because they read that blog, or because they saw you do mediocre cheerleading or that strange scholarship pageant or they remember when you sang that bizarre choir solo that was more of a wail than song…There are so many you cannot list them all. And some of them are more memories of feelings that actual events. That gripping in the abdomen–I’ve made a huge mistake.
  23. Be saved by the fact that Oprah is constantly talking about intention
  24. Realize that all the fear and anxiety is based on THIS intention: You want people to be impressed with you. You want to be liked. (You’re basically screaming, Love me! Fear me! It’s NOT a good look for you.) 
  25. Remember some people will like you and some people won’t because you’re not for everyone and everyone’s not for you.
  26. Set a new intention: To show love for the people who grew along with you. 
  27. Put on eyeshadow per the directions of the instruction card that came with the palate because this is the most makeup instruction you’ve had since you were 17. (Choose the one called Disco Nights because, you know…you’ve gotta look gooooood.)
  28. Walk into the reunion mixer. Hug the first person at the door, your best friend from elementary school. 
  29. Get lost in each interaction, one after another, after another. 
  30. Choose the people who also choose you.
  31. Hug all of them.
  32. Boldly call people the wrong name and watch them forgive you.
  33. Soak up their goodness.
  34. Soak up their giddiness, honesty, laughter, dance moves, serious faces, wide eyes, clever remarks, humble brags, shrouds, curiosity, and acceptance. 
  35. Realize that, Yes! Love is patient and love is kind. But love also disrupts. It flips tables. Love is angry. Love is uncomfortable. Love holds opposites. Love is patient—yes, but it moves! Love has no boxes. Love forgives because love sees the whole. Love defends. Love disrupts again. Love holds. 
  36. Notice how you all bruised each other because you loved each other. 
  37. Feel held. Feel free. Remember you ARE love. All of you are love.  
  38. Wake up. Raise three glasses of water, a cup of coffee, and a couple of Advil to the class of 2001. To you. To all of you. Reunited.