Friday morning starts the weekend long celebrations for my 10 year reunion at my high school. I unfortunately will not be attending, it is rather difficult to fly to South Africa just for a weekend, as much as I would like to. But all the talk and discussions on facebook definitely has got me looking back over the last 10 years of my life and I started to wonder who, if any, of us are doing exactly what we set out to do after high school?
If you think back to your naïve 18 year old self, where did you see yourself in 10 years time? Have you achieved the goals that you set out for yourself or did your life take an unexpected turn? Was it for the better or worse? While these questions may seem slightly irrelevant at this point in your life purely because it is impossible to go back in time to change the things that you may regret but I believe that it is an exercise that one can gain from. It will bring a bit of perspective to your current lifestyle.
But what is the psychology behind what makes high school reunions such a terrifying rite of passage? I see reunions as a gathering of old schoolmates to offer little more than a way to relive school-day antics but others see it as a collision of past and present and as a time of self-reflection, measuring who you are as opposed what you wished for yourself and what you think your peers expected of you.
I, for one, at the tender age of 18 thought that I would become a big shot lawyer and that I would be the quintessential business women with very little time for marriage and family… boy was I wrong. Within a few months of being at varsity I realized how boring the legal system really was and switched courses, but not before meeting my soul mate who I eventually married four years later. My life changed dramatically in that time, my mother divorced my step father, (what a mess that turned out to be) which is one of the best things she ever did. My hubby and I became expats and our son was born in the Middle East, all in a short 7 years!
Switch back to 10 years after school, I am involved in the corporate world with an international role but just with different priorities, my family will always come first and work second. This is not a dig at mothers with different priorities, I’m simply stating the facts. I recently joined a network called Scary Mommy ( http://www.scarymommy.com ) which connects moms around the world with a simple notion: Parenting doesn’t have to be perfect. The different blogs that are published on a daily basis was so refreshing because it has helped me realize that us working moms are not alone in our thoughts on raising children. Hell, 18 years ago raising kids was as scary as it got, but here we are so many of the girls in my class with one or even more kids making a difference in others lives on a daily basis.
So we are back to my original question, how different is your life to what or where you thought you were going to be 10 years later. I am definitely not where I saw myself 10 years ago but thank goodness for that. As I mentioned, unfortunately will not be attending my reunion purely because of logistics but I wish the Hudson Park High School (http://www.hphs.co.za/) Class of ’04 a fantastic weekend!