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Well, my long awaited 10 year reunion was this weekend. And having it come and gone, I’m left with a number of striking thoughts.

First and foremost, it was so great to see everyone I talked with. It’s amazing to me the changes we all went through, and the people we have become. For the most part, everyone was pretty classy.

But I think there is a shared experienced of nervousness, fear, and wonder when it comes to 10 year reunions. Looking out across the resplendent old church turned reception hall, I recognized a number of different people types.

First, there was the noticeable absence of those who refused to come at all. Most of their sentiments leading up the big day were that there was no need to go because they either didn’t care about the people from high school or everyone they wanted to talk to they did so already in their everyday lives. I find this a shame. There were some faces I had hoped would change their mind if nothing more than to hear their sarcastic humor.

Next, there were those who came to show off some aspect of their life that they were proud of. These people rightfully so had reason to be proud, but in my opinion that incentive seems shallow. Don’t get me wrong, I am excited for those that are doing extremely well, but I also didn’t go to school in the richest neighborhood. So, to come back for the sole purposes of looking good seemed like trying to stick it in peoples’ noses.

But to be fair, these people were few and far between. I honestly can’t remember more than one person who seemed like this was his reason.

Then, there were those that came rather courageously despite feeling they had failed at life in the past 10 years and were ashamed, thus needing much alcohol to cope. I feel that these people put more pressure on themselves than needs be. Let’s face it, life is tough. We all make bad decisions, some stick with us longer than others, but in the end if you are living the life you wanted when you graduated, then you are a success. If not, there is always tomorrow. And, truly, I applaud those that might have come feeling this way for coming anyway.I do not say brave lightly.

And then there were those who came simply to see old, familiar faces. It was easy to see the joy in their eyes at seeing old friends many of whom they hadn’t seen since that warm night in June. There was genuine excitement and heartfelt hugs given when eyes met across the room. And some people, though their outward appearance had matured, seemed to just pick up right where they left off. That, to me, was the best part of the night. For a brief moment, everyone was taken back to their best moments of high school without all of the anxiety that accompanied them the first time.

For me, in truth, I went for all of these reasons. Initially I refused to go because of a stuck up attitude that I didn’t need to see anyone from high school. I’m glad my wife’s encouragement overruled that sentiment and removed that attitude from me.

And I have to admit that a part of me did come with a bit of pride in wanting to show off my extremely beautiful wife and darling children (It’s hard not to) but it wasn’t my sole purpose.

Also, I know I sure felt like a failure for having a goal of losing weight and through adding a child and injuring myself didn’t come close to meeting it. But i had to teach myself that little bit of truth that there’s always tomorrow to start.

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And lastly, and most influentially, I went to see old faces I hadn’t in 10 years. I felt a little like Frodo in the Lord of the Rings, when they all gathered back in the Shire after everything. There were stories to tell, and everything was the same yet different. We had all matured and aged, but in those few fleeting hours we all found a little bit of youth. Priceless.

My was it a beautiful experience. Many faces looked exactly the same, others were completely different, but I think what I came away with from the night the most was that we as people need 10 year reunions not from some selfish pride or masochistic need to pity ourselves but to reassure ourselves how similar we all really are; life just takes many different paths and manifests itself in many different forums.

I, for one, have a full heart for having gone and can’t thank my wife enough for being my encouragement to do so.

To all of those whom I caught up with, you are all so beautiful and amazing for joining me in a night of reminiscence and new perspectives.

And to all who are nearing their 10 year reunion, go. You never know what insights you will gain of yourself and life if you don’t. Besides, your 10 year reunion only comes once in a lifetime.

Peace and Long Reads,

Justin

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