Shawna O’Hagan Morrow header image

Want to bring up your Sh*t – Have a High School Reunion

in Courage

I recently went to my high school reunion. Did I mention it was my 25 year reunion??? It sounds so old to me. How did this happen? Life happens and then it’s your 25 year reunion 🙂

This is the first time I’ve ever been to a reunion. I didn’t feel like I had anything to share 5 years after I graduated. I was still in college and I saw everyone at $1 Bud Night anyway. I didn’t hear anything about the 10 or 15 year reunions and I didn’t want to go to my 20 year reunion.

There’s something about high school reunions that brings up your shit! No question. I was nervous and had a lot of fear. Mostly crazy scenarios built up in my head. Kind of like the dreams/nightmares that people have where they are naked in front of the whole school or they forget to go to school for almost the entire year and they don’t graduate. My fears were similar but seemed so real.

I was worried that no one would remember me – that I wasn’t memorable enough.

Or that I didn’t look good because I have gained weight since I graduated. And that people would be whispering about how bad I looked.

I did a lot of self coaching around this. I came to realize that all the fears were blown WAY out of proportion and that if I wanted to go, I could go and have a great time!

If people didn’t remember me, well maybe I wasn’t friends with them or maybe they have a bad memory. It’s not a reflection of me. And if they don’t remember me – that’s ok too. I may not remember them. It’s all good. We are talking about 25 years ago…not everyone will remember everything.

Maybe people were talking about how I look these days. Eleanor Roosevelt said it best, “What other people think of me is none of my business.”

I thought everyone looked great and looked the same as they did in high school. I was so incredibly happy to see them again.

We laughed a lot! And we talked a lot. We covered the main topics:

  • Where we live now and what we do for a living
  • Births and deaths
  • Breakups, marriages and divorces
  • Memories & stories that others had been forgotten
  • New names we call ourselves these days
  • How different we are today than when we were in high school and how grateful for all of the lessons we’ve learned along the way
  • Where we’ve been and what we’ve done for the last 25 years

We talked about life and what matters. No one was judging each other like teens tend to do in high school. We are all adults now. We were interested in knowing each other’s paths.

The one thing we didn’t have to say is how happy we were to see each other – it was obvious. All of the laughing, hugging, kissing and drinking gave away how incredible it was to be reconnected. I am genuinely overjoyed to see them again after 25 years. Facebook is nice to help people feel somewhat connected, but nothing can substitute a face to face catch up and hug!

I’m so glad I was able to get past all the crazy thoughts that could have kept me home. And did keep me home in the past.

One thing I found interesting is that I heard some people say they were nervous about going to the reunion too. They had similar fears – what if they didn’t recognize anyone or worse, what if they don’t get recognized. It’s a shared fear. We are hard wired for love and belonging and what if we get to the reunion and no one recognizes us – it can feel like we don’t belong.

One thing I know for sure is that the Paint Branch Panthers 25 year reunion was incredible and everyone belonged. We were one.

Going to this reunion and reconnecting with my friends that I’ve known for so many years – some since kindergarten – was the best decision I’ve made in a while! It made me feel so much happiness, joy and love!

Looking at the shit that is scaring us and acknowledging it, is not easy. But if you don’t, it will keep you small and hiding and you’ll miss out on life and the connection that we all truly crave. Don’t allow fear to keep you hiding. Moving past it and it can lead you to some of the best experiences of your life.

And to think I almost didn’t go…now that would have been a real heartbreak.

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