Here are five things I'm doing as I get ready for my, gulp, 25th college reunion.
How did a quarter of a century pass so quickly?! A quarter century. Let that sink in. Just yesterday we were listening to Achtung Baby, watching Beverly Hills, 90210, dancing to “Baby Got Back,” talking about boy problems and telling people “You can’t handle the truth!” I can’t handle the fact that apparently I am now ancient!
Sure, it’s fun to run into friends you haven’t seen in years, but let’s be honest — reunions are at least 50 percent about seeing who’s lost hair and who’s gained weight. Social media is today’s Cliffs Notes, so you have the advantage of knowing how you measure up in advance. (And enough time to make sure you at least resemble your own profile pic.) That said, we all know how artificially curated Instagram accounts are. When it’s last call at the campus bar, a Jimmy Buffett record is playing and the lights come on, we’ll see what’s real.
Where do I begin to prepare myself for the existential angst of spending a long weekend with people who knew me when I was a baby-faced girl from Texas with really big hair? (I recently looked through college photos. It was the late ’80s, early ’90s. It was horrifying.) Let’s face it, we’re mostly worried about running into ex-boyfriends. And why haven’t those roommate squabbles and mean-girl face-offs faded into distant memory? If my fifth reunion revolved around cheap beer, my 25th will surely require stronger stuff.
The stakes were lower at my 10th college reunion. We were still young, many of us were just starting to get married and have babies. Our 25th reunion is the big one. We’re in our mid (don’t-you-dare-say-late) 40s now. What have I done with my life? What do I have to show for all the potential that came with my diploma? How will I not compare myself to everyone else? The truth of the matter is, I shouldn’t worry what my classmates think of me and where I am in life. What matters is how I'm trying to come to terms with the choices I’ve made in order to balance my career, my family and my total Type-A personality. I’m not going to diminish that by comparing myself with classmates. Now, how do I stop the anxiety dreams about graduation day and I’m three credits short? Dammit!
Because duh. Full body makeover in nine months. I can totally do it, right?
Illustrations by Jade Schulz