Posts tagged ‘reunion’

Dear Younger Self

I’d like to invent a time machine and take this note back to 1980. I would sneak into Shaler Area High School and put it in my locker. (Believe it or not, I still know the combination.)

Dear Younger Self,

There are so many things I wish I could tell you, but a blog can’t be overly long. (Oh, yeah, you’ll have a blog someday. And you write it in your own house, using a thing called a computer!) Anyway I hope this helps you survive the sucking sucktacular suck-fest that is your senior year of high school.

Hang in there, Weirdo!
Trust me. The things that make you different are the things that make you cool. Or, if they don’t make you cool exactly, they make you you, and when you figure that out, cool doesn’t matter.

Sail on!
If rough winds throw you off course, it only means you’re moving in a new direction. Might be a worse one, might be a better one. You won’t know for a while. No matter. The world is round. Sail on.

Sh*t Happens
Walk past it. Work around it. Light it on fire, ring a doorbell, and run. Just don’t carry it with you.

The Cute Boy
One sunny day, about five years after you’ve graduated from Shaler, you’ll run into The Cute Boy. You’ll be sweaty and wearing the ugliest outfit you’ll ever wear (an orange and brown polyester uniform), so maybe work on your sparkling conversation skills? Or learn how to flirt? Try not to be as dorky as your outfit.

F*** Sports
You have 20-plus years of ridiculously awesome fun volleyball in your future with some of the best people you will ever meet in your lifetime. When the strike ends, walk away from high school sports.

My recommended exit line is a phrase you don’t use. (Yet.)

It’s a Trap!
There are gazillions of jobs that exist in the world that may or may not correlate to knowing something about algebra, English lit, the dissection of small dead animals, and/or murder ball. Aptitude tests are, at best, useless; at worst, perilous confusion.

I can’t remember if they were mandatory. If not, skip them. If so, give crazy answers. Then, go do what you love.

Back-up Plan
I know that you are going to be a wife and mother and all that and it will be fabulous and happy with a great guy who loves you, but, just in case, um, crazy talk, haha, maybe consider having a back-up plan of something you might enjoy doing for a living for, oh, say, 30 or 40 years. No, no, don’t worry. I’m just messing with you, hahahaha.

But, um, just in case. 

Show Up
Many years from now, late in November, fourteen years into a new millenium, there’s going to be a Shaler get-together called a Show Up. You won’t be sure you want to go. You’ll worry you don’t really have much to show for having been out in the world doing stuff for over 30 years. You don’t really like the idea of a room full of strangers. You dread the possibility of ending up standing in a corner by yourself, feeling awkward and socially inept. You’re afraid there just might be giant flashing spotlights and a monster truck announcer at the front door who will grab a microphone and yell, “Older! Fatter! Grayer! And stillllllll without a date to the prom — iiiiiiiit’s Beth!” as you walk into the bar.

Go to the party. Show up. You’ll have a blast. (There’s no announcer.)

Yes, young self, it’s true, even when you’re a middle-aged grown-up, there’ll be times when you have to find a way to be brave.

But, don’t worry, by then, you’ll be old enough to buy vodka.

December 3, 2014 at 9:52 pm 1 comment

Lessons Learned

This past weekend, I attended a Zeta Sigma Tau sorority reunion back on the UPJ college campus. It has me thinking about lessons learned.

Life is incredibly random. Embrace it.
Once upon a time there were some administrators in some offices, sorting forms, directing college freshman into dorm rooms and classrooms, affecting who would cross my path in September of 1981.

There are many paths. Be willing to explore.
I had planned to play volleyball and become a teacher. Instead, I joined a sorority and became a writer. If I had it to do over, the only thing I’d do differently is not stress over either decision.

Look up and say hello.
You’ll sit down next to a lot of strangers in your lifetime. One or two might be destined to be a friend for life.

There are parties going on. Attend one.
At 18, I was shy. I was nervous. I was kind of a nerd. I was not a snappy dresser. But I left my dorm room and went to a party. That one brave deed led to Zeta Sigma Tau, which became the center of my life at 18 and the catalyst for a poignant, hilarious, joyful, just-what-I-needed weekend at 50.

Everything changes. Some things never change.
From 18 to 50, we slowly, steadily transform. But it’s not like squashing and reforming a lump of clay. It’s like weaving a broader and more intricate pattern. There is always a thread that ties us to our starry-eyed, stumbling, happy youth. An unsnippable, indestructible, soul-saving thread.

A shared perspective is magic.
It is good to take a long look at the past with those who were there. Not to white-wash or candy-coat but to see clearly from a distance. To put an arm around then and an arm around now and embrace it whole. To understand at a deep level that, warts and all, you are one lucky so-and-so.

Bonus:  A group of aging brains remembers more great stuff than one aging brain.

At 50, adult humans become capable of time travel.
Don’t ask me about the science, but it’s true.

Stages of life.
There will be drama. You’ll have good acts and bad ones. Sometimes the script will suck. Sometimes you’ll be confused or scared. There will be those who shout. Or throw tomatoes. But, ultimately, Life is an exquisite comedy. Find a great supporting cast. And stick around for the whole show.

It’s funny . . . 
Sadness and happiness get murky. Anger and joy wane. Achievements and disappointments fade away. But funny is funny forever.

It’s never about the stuff.
True friendship is not about popularity or possessions. It is about who giggles at the same dumb stuff that you do. It’s about hugging someone who hugs back. It’s about who picks you up when you fall (from hard times or too much grain punch or a skid across a dance floor). It’s about being able to join the conversation in a heartbeat, whether you’re returning from a hard day of classes or from a 30-year absence.

Graduating and grief.
Leaving your college friends at graduation is a lot like the grieving process. Over time, you cry less, you get passed how much you miss them, you get on with life. But there will be moments when that sweet ache stops you in your tracks. And you miss them all, all over again, more than can be expressed.

Women are kind, beautiful, and amazing.
If you don’t believe this one, find new friends.


This post dedicated to my sorority sisters, some of the best damn women I have ever had the privilege to know. Til next time, don’t forget for one moment that you are brilliant and lovely and funny as hell. I loved who you were. I love who you’ve become. You have a place in my heart forever as uniquely qualified life preservers.

September 30, 2013 at 4:37 pm 8 comments

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