Thursday, June 6, 2013

Twenty Years Later, I'm Still Unpacking

It has taken me many a moon to develop into the cool, calm, sophisticated, got-it-together woman I am today. For those who regularly read my blog, please stop laughing. 

I know, I'm still a work in progress, but I have come a long way. While others fret gaining a few notches on the old age belt, I have to say my thirties have been the best years of my life, and I am wholeheartedly looking forward to my forties. My teens were not so kind to me. Yes, everyone has their own drama in those angst ridden years, and I certainly was not without friends or enjoyment during that time. However, as I think back to those years, I would definitely not characterize them as the "good old days." It seems The Narddog's (Andy Bernard of The Office) quote, "I wish there was a way to know you were in the good old days while you're actually in them" has gone viral, and I'm the only one who is thinking..."eh." I am really enjoying the here and now, and looking forward to the years to come. 

This year I face a possible return down memory lane with a high school reunion coming up. I must explain - I actually had my official 20 year reunion last year, which was the class I received my diploma with, but I was birthing a baby that day. (See? I loved high school so much I wanted to leave it a year earlier than scheduled!) The reunion this year is with those who I was in class with from kindergarten. These are the ladies who probably came to a sleepover before you knew who was cool and who wasn't, the gents that I played four square with...so on and so forth. There is a large part of me that really wants to go because twenty years has passed and a lot of that angst has been swept away. Facebook has helped that along as we watch each other thrive in careers, struggle through life, enjoy marriage and children...or not. It is a whole different world. 

Except that it isn't. My blood pressure rises, my heart starts to pound, and my palms start to sweat when I think about this reunion. It doesn't help that my class(es) are full of rockstars and rocket scientists. Seriously. My friend Michael works for NASA. Our valedictorian from my actual graduating class is a successful director in Hollywood. Lisa was the brains behind the popular Budweiser commercial for this year's Super Bowl. Jill is a blogger extraordinaire. The list really goes on and on, while I sit here drinking coffee and wondering what I'll make for dinner. 

That's what it comes down to isn't it? Aside from the wonderment of what I might actually talk to my former classmates about, it really comes down to what will they think of me? What has become of the nerdy gal so many liked to pick on or ignore? It's those things that fill my mind, because obviously the negative is easier to gravitate toward and assume. I remember when I first started seeing them on Facebook, I would see pictures and wonder if we went to the same school. So much of high school just didn't apply to me - and so much of it I seem to have blocked out of my memory. 

This, of course, does no credit to those who were and are still my friends. I had a wonderful group of people that helped me make it through those trying years. I still remember making egg rolls in Atheena's kitchen, debate trips with the gang, movie nights, game nights, just hanging out and doing nothing nights. It is just a different world than so many of my classmates enjoyed. And it seems like the senior year I didn't stay for cemented friendships in a way I didn't allow. So, I guess I wonder where this all leaves me as I consider returning to the scene. What did I do with my life and all the potential that laid ahead? How do I measure up, and what measure am I using? Isn't that the struggle we all face to some extent?

I have to learn to be comfortable with the fact that I probably use a drastically different measure than I was taught to use from my youth. That conditioning doesn't die easily. I'm not a superstar in a professional field, but what I do has a lot of meaning behind it. I am a wife, I am a mother, I am a daughter of God, a woman who loves Jesus and wants to share His love with the world. I get the privilege to work with women who are struggling and many who have lost hope. I work to help restore that hope and show them a vision of themselves through the eyes of faith and love. I guess that's not too shabby after twenty years.
So, will we go? Probably. Will I still have butterflies in my stomach the whole time. Oh, heck yeah! Real life reunions are a heaping handful different than hanging on Facebook, after all. At the end of the day, though, I'm not so much the Narddog as I am a little bit Pam Beesly Halpert. "There's a lot of beauty in ordinary things. Isn't that the point?" 

Most of us don't live a rock star life, but there is beauty in the every day rising and setting of the sun, in the small things we do faithfully and lovingly. I am not Michael. Or Joey (or Joseph as they call him these days). Or Jill. Or Lisa. Or anyone else who has made their way or is struggling in life. I am still just Rakhi, living in a different world than the rest because no one lives the same life as another, trying to remember that there is beauty in the ordinary life...and that the ordinary life is actually filled with a heaping handful of extraordinary moments.

6 comments:

  1. Dude! I loved this. a lot. It's funny, because, like you, I keep telling everyone my thirties are where it's at. While everyone else panicked about turning 30, it's when I feel like my life actually began :) When I got married, had kids, started the life I had been waiting for. BUT, alas, I def. 'wish I could go back to college' that was a time in my life that was AWESOME but i didn't fully appreciate!
    And you are a much better girl than me, I don't think I could ever go to a reunion! lol. except, again, college :)

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    1. Seriously, lady. I'm totally all about my 30s. College was fun for me, but I don't think I would go back. Unless it were to take school a little more seriously. I know, total nerd. I really am good with leaving it all in the past. I think these are gonna be my "good old days" - maybe 10 years from now the Narddog and I will be on the same page. ;)

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  2. Great post!
    I think my thirties have been the years of my life. Every year I feel more comfortable with myself. I am looking forward to my forties, too.
    My 20 year reunion is next year. I have been thinking about it. I am not sure if I will go or not. I think I would rather spend a night out with our friends. I guess I have a year to think about it! Lol!

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    1. Thanks, Erica! I'll be honest, we haven't been back to Iowa in quite some time, and the timing works out to be when my mom will be in town for my son's birthday, so that made it all the more appealing. I am curious to see where life has led people and to catch up in person with them. Of course, now it is looking like we may not get to go if our home renovations continue to run behind schedule. All in the Lord's hands!

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  3. Great meditation on a common fear. And my goodness, you were HOT in high school! My husband went to high school in a VERY high end community and when we went to his 20 year reunion, it seemed like most of the guys had ended up being carpenters (not even contractors!). Go figure...

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    1. Thanks, Anna. And I never once thought of myself that way for sure! :) I know it is totally my own negative self talk that fuels the fears, but I still can't seem to get completely around them. Turns out we may not be able to go after all due to some delays in our home improvement schedule so it may be an entirely non-issue!

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