Why The 10 Year Reunion Is A Must-Do Opportunity

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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

The 5th Dimension and more!

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This post is slightly delayed and I do so apologize. I have been tied up with parent conferences (or for any other teachers out there: the 5th Dimension) for the past week or so.

Oh, I’m sorry. When I said 5th Dimension, were you thinking of these guys?220px-5th_Dimension_1969

That probably would have been more exciting. Sorry.

No, conferences,  I must say, are such an interesting concept. They are the same virtually every time. I sit across from one of my students and his/her parents to discuss behavior and grades. Everytime I do one of these I encounter 1 of 3 types of students.

Student Type 1: The Interpreter

I work at a school with quite a large population of English Learners whose parents speak little to no English. Now, whenever I have a conference with these students, they typically translate for me. At first I was skeptical about using the sudents for fear that they would repeat whatever they wanted, but I have come to find that these students relate my words quite faithfully, even the difficult students. Usually the parents smile and nod and are away within a few minutes. Quite a painless operation. 

Student Type 2: The Reformer

This student is the one who sits with his/her parent and get grilled for their behavior or grades. They take the verbal punishment and vow to change. They look their parents in the eyes and promise to come in early to turn in missing work or serve detention. And they do.

For a week.

Then their behavior reverts back to the way it was pre-conference. I never hear from the parents during the year, nor can I get a return phone call or email.

Student Type 3: The Faithful

This student comes to conferences knowing full well what is going to be said for it has been said time and time again. Either they are the top students who are constantly praised or the most difficult who are constantly warned. Parents don’t say much. They nod their head and move on quickly to another teacher.

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Conferences are definitely the 5th Dimension. Something beyond this world that can be counted on time after time to waste time. There exists only the rare occasions where something different comes out of these exchanges, but they are few and very far between.

Anyway, time for the weekly update.

 These conferences have pre-occupied my time, and I have not stuck to my workout routine mostly since I’ve been getting home at 8 pm and crashing an hour later.

Speaking of which, I need to give my shoutout to LMarie for her comment with a great link and great ideas on a new workout routine.

SHOUT OUT TO LMARIE!!!!

I have not started a new one, partly due to conferences, but mostly due to a larger problem that I constantly struggle with. I have always struggled with it. It is the one thing that keeps me from moving forward.

The problem is that when my routine gets messed up, even in the slightest, I tend to get completely discombobulated and defeated. Such as the case has been since Easter.

I had a week off from normalcy and saw my exercise slipping. Then my eating habits started going with it. Then I went back to work and didn’t reset everything. Then I spent time in the 5th Dimension, and here I am on the brink of giving up entirely.

I don’t want to give up.

I don’t want to fail, again.

I don’t want to stay in this current routine.

But I also don’t want to start over from the beginning.

So I’m struggling. I’m struggling the same laziness and poor eating habits that got me here.

Now, I want change. I want to find victory. I want to defeat my weight and have power over it. So, I’m going to push on. No matter what I have to do, I’m going to find my routine again. I’m going find myself weighing less and achieving my goals. I am going to win. And by the grace of God, I am going to do it.

By the Grace of God.

Week 1

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This past week has been quite a whirlwind, I must say. First, let me begin by expressing my deepest gratitude for those of you who have stopped by, liked the blog, and are following me. It’s has been quite encouraging and humbling, and I do thank you all. I look forward to the many comments and critiques you all will have for my writing and my continued quest for running.

Speaking of running, I had quite the week. Let . . . me. . . tell . . you. Now, I only did 2 of my 3 running days (I know, I know, you’re all thinking “slacker..”), but what incredible days those were!

First, day 1: So, there I was walking down my street in utter darkness towards my running park and thinking back towards Friday when I had run 3 miles for the first time. (See first post, The Beginning, below) And honestly, I really was not in the mood for running. See, mere hours after my first post, while grocery shopping, my wife’s car Tanya Hardinged my knee. (And for those of you who can’t remember the Tanya Harding/Nancy Kerrigan feud you should google it. If I recall, they caught the incident on film. Quite shocking still.) Anywho, my knee was bruised and sore and that day at work had been very stressful. So, really, my old nature just wanted to sit on the couch and eat bon-bons . . . or Cocoa Puffs. . . . But I had committed to running days and I didn’t want it to be about my feelings; hence the walking in utter darkness. And as the steady rhythm to David Crowder’s “O Praise Him” pounded in my ears, I trudged toward the park. As my eclectic mix of music rolled on and the staccato drums of “Semi-Charmed Kind of Life” sprang to life in my ears I started the run. I was doing fine at a slow pace, but each step bade me quit. My knee was hurting and in turn my back was hurting,and I just kept fighting the urge to give up. I tried to focus on each song that played and run to the beat, but the pain crowded my concentration. I carried on step after step like this until I finally made it back home. When I looked at my app I saw this: Image It was a new record! I was very excited, but I knew that in order to run a 5k, I needed to run further. I resolved to changed my route in order to run at least 3.25 miles the next time.

Day 2: Again I was not feeling it. My knee felt better, but the work week was not going well and instead of using the running to vent my frustrations, I just didn’t want to go. I even left an hour later which typically meant the park was going to be completely dark. Well, I strapped on my shoes and threw on my headgear and bounded out of the house knowing that I was either going to break my record or give up. There was no middle ground for me. So, I began and as I started running, the night air was much more humid than it had been, and I knew summer was starting to set in. (We don’t really get Spring.) The only activity in the park was a football team practicing giving me my only distraction from the monotony of my shoes and the pavement. I pushed through each mile listening to the voice of my digital coach calling out the times and distances until I came upon my last lap. I was at the point of no return, and my body knew it. It did not want to keep going but I was determined that I made it this far and I needed to finish. As I turned in the middle of the park and headed for home on my last stretch, the app called out, “Workout complete,” . . . and I was still running. By the time I hit the parking lot to the park, I worried my app had stopped counting distance for I had not heard anything in a while. The last distance I recalled was 2.68 miles. But sure enough, as a constant wind guiding ships across the sea, my coach showed up to let me know I had already run 3.35 miles. I was impressed and relieved. But I was not home. I wanted to see how far I could push. So I kept going and going and going and . . . (well you get the idea) until I reached this:Image

A new record once again!! And my body was spent. My body hurt.

Day 3 came, ending my week, and i discovered that I had lost 5lbs, and this time I was actually looking forward to running. Ironically, it did not pan out. Due to family necessities I was forced to abandon my day of running. But this just gives me a new excitement for Day 1 next week. Until then, please, do, continue to read and comment.

The Beginning

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Running

So, here I am. Doing what I never thought I would do. Sitting at a keyboard, connecting to the world of online media. For most of my adult life I shuddered at the thought of putting myself out there in the digital media realm. What’s changed, you ask? Well, for one thing, I’m being forced to adapt. I spend my days as a dispenser of knowledge and molder of minds for over 150 junior high and high school students. And every day I recognize that my “student” world and theirs are quite distinct. I know, I know, everyone says that. “When I was in school,” begins the old man with a raspy voice and a slight whistle every time he says the letter “s”. “When I was in school, we were never that disrespectful.” “Ok, sure,” I say. But, for me this really is true. (And I only graduated 10 years ago, which is the point of everything you will soon see.)

Anyway, I was sitting at my desk this past week thinking about the ginormous chasm between them and me. (Yeah, I did just use the word ginormous. I like words that are formed from two words that mean the exact same thing.) And I realized that I will never truly understand my students until I understand what they do when they aren’t in my class. And it hit me. They spend much of their time in a disconnected world of online media: facebook, twitter, blogs, etc… (By the way, I say disconnected because in reality, we are only connecting to a computer screen, not really with anyone in particular.) And I, for the most part, on this prior belief, had decided not to engage in such form of entertainment on principle. But as this revelation that this is what separated me from them rolled in my mind, I began to reconsider if this principle was really a hill worth dying on. So, I thought, well if I was to engage in the social media realm, what would I really have to say. I thought and thought, and slept, and thought some more, went running, thought some more, then it dawned on me. I’m not that interesting of a person, but really neither is anyone else. We are all just normal people trying to relate our lives to the rest of the populace. So, I decided to just share me.

Me: I am Justin Sargeant, Christian, husband to an amazing woman, father to (soon to be) two sons, an English teacher, intrepid explorer into the world of social media, and as mentioned above, I am currently approaching my 10 year reunion. I have struggled with weight for just about my entire life. About 2 years ago, after my first son was born, I weighed 260 lbs and the doctor basically told me I was going to lose weight or die. (Maybe not in quite those words.)

Well, just as before, I decided I was going to finally make it happen. My wonderful wife was behind me every step of the way helping me choose good, healthy meals, develop exercise routines and the like. Well, as usual, I struggled to change my mindset and my eating habits. My wife on the other hand (who, by the way, has always had a mind for being healthy) decided she was going to become a runner. In her words she did this because she said, “You’ve never seen a fat runner…” I laughed, mostly because we tried going for a run once, and she couldn’t go more than fifty feet without giving up. Well, something changed in her, and she began doing a program designed to get you to run long distances in about 10 weeks or so. And she did. At her best she was running 45 minutes straight. I was so proud of her. Here was me, this guy who had played baseball, basketball, and football his entire life, not losing weight, and there was my wife, a woman who really didn’t do much sports, running like a beast. I felt disappointed in myself. I felt ashamed. So, I asked her to help me start the same program. And as I began the program, I began noticing that the 30 minutes or so spent listening to music was a nice time-out from life. Yet, I never could seem to keep it going for more than a few weeks. And after a year, of “starting the program,” I still hadn’t run for longer than 10 minutes.Well, around the beginning of this last school year, my wife and I found out we were pregnant again. And I was determined not to gain 30 pregnancy lbs as I had with the first child and actually stick to running. Since then, I decided to dedicate 3 days a week to running the program. I have found myself taking a few weeks off here and there for sickness reasons, but I have not given up.

Yesterday, was a running day. I did not want to go, and actually went out to eat ice cream to deter myself from running. But as we returned and tucked our little guy into bed, I knew deep in me, I would be sorry for not going. So, I put on my running shirt, running pants, brand new running shoes (all of which my beautiful wife bought me for Christmas), nestled ear phones into my ears, and went out into the night to hopefully not throw up. (By the way, I know I just split the infinitive, but sometimes I find it stylish to do so.)

I started running and something just felt different. I didn’t really want to follow my digital coach. I was supposed to run 5 minutes and walk for 3 minutes 4 times, but I just didn’t want to. So, as the first interval came to a close, I kept running. At first, it thought: okay, I will stop at the next lamp post. But when it came, I didn’t feel like it. I kept running. Then the next interval ended without my realizing it, and I had already run one mile. My lungs weren’t burning and my legs weren’t tired so I kept listening to my jams (that’s what I call my running music) and kept running. About that time, it started to rain, and I thought it felt good so I kept running. Eventually, I had run 2 miles and didn’t know it. At about the 2 mile mark, I realized I was soaking wet and probably needed to head home. So, I cut through the park and concentrated on making my way home which was about a quarter of a mile from the park. As I reached the parking lot a few guys called out to me that my wife had been looking for me, worried about me running in the rain or something, and I ignored them and kept running. Eventually, I made it back to my house and stopped my program. It read, 2.98 miles in 31:26. I couldn’t believe it. I have never run that far in my life! I wasn’t even tired; though, I was wet.

Since then it has been on my mind and I’m still amazed I did it. Now as stated above, I am approaching my 10 year reunion. A months ago, I ran into a guy from high school and totally didn’t recognize him. I thought, have I changed that much too, but in a bad way? I weigh 50 pounds more today, than I did when I graduated. 20 of it I gained my first year in college (and not due to the freshman 15), and the other 30 I gained during the pregnancy of my first son. I really don’t want to go back in September and feel as uncomfortable and ashamed as I did the night I ran into my old high school peer. After last night, something inside me has ignited. I realize that if I could accomplish something I never thought possible, like running 3 miles without stopping, then surely I can lose 50 lbs before my reunion. Presently, it is March and I weigh 245 lbs. The reunion is in September, and I want to weight 200 lbs. That gives me 6 months, so roughly, 7 lbs a month. Doable? Possibly, but the only way to find out is to keep going. Keep running and eating healthy. Hopefully this blog can be a record of that achievement and accountability for it too.

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