Right of Passage

Rite of Passage: Your 50th Reunion

Rite of Passage:  Your 50th Reunion

It happens in the blink of an eye.  One day you are walking across the stage to pick up your kindergarten diploma.   The next day you get an invitation to attend your 50th high school class reunion.

The class was small – only 23 girls – and we all knew everybody’s business at the K-12 Catholic school.  That was nice…sometimes. Other times it seemed stifling to an inquiring mind and an adventurous spirit.

You wonder:  “Should I go or should I pass?”

A sea of memories floods your mind.  You lose yourself in a reverie and suddenly you’re transported back in time to when you were thin, knew it all, had very deep crushes, and worried about whether you really understood enough to ace your next chemistry test.

“Why not?” you say.  It’ll be fun to reminisce and to mingle for awhile with people you haven’t seen or heard from in half a century.  Half a century….Has it really been that long?

You look in the mirror.  Who’s that looking back at you?  This must be a mistake.  Looks like your grandmother. Is this possible?!

“Where have all the years gone?” you ask yourself.

You begin to scour social media sites for your classmates.  You recognize the names but not the faces. Well, maybe a smile here and there. They’ve aged. Most look older – way older – than you.  Then you look back in the mirror. Well, maybe not.

The big day – your 50th reunion,  your rite of passage – is approaching. What will you wear? What will you say when someone asks what you’ve been doing for the last five decades? Can you summarize your life in a 30-second elevator speech?  Then again, what if nobody cares? What if nobody talks to you?

The big day is here.  It’s raining.  You’re having a bad hair day.  You step out of your car and your white slacks (You should know better than to wear white.) are brown at the bottom because of the muddy street.

You see a group of old ladies congregating around a table in the lobby.

“That’s them,” you whisper before you sneak into the ladies room to clean up.

You take a deep breath, smile and start hugging people.

“Good thing there are name tags,” you sigh.

“Do you remember….” is the most common phrase uttered for the next two hours.

Actually, you only remember about half — if that much — of what some of your old chums are talking about.

Memory is like that.  Selective perception plus embellishment added to forgetfulness of advanced age.

Still, you have a good time.  You’re glad to see some of the people you grew up with. It’s touching to see the nuns who taught you in the 6th and 8th grades.  Actually, it tugs at your heart.  You’re pleased that you pushed yourself out of your comfort zone to attend.

And you’re grateful for the privilege of having made it through this rite of passage: your 50th high school class reunion.  So, when will we meet again?  We can’t wait another 50 years.



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