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meAdmittedly, I weigh more than my last class reunion.  I have additional gray hairs and wrinkles.  My success to failure ratio isn’t all that phenomenal.  I didn’t expand my family in any way since the last time I met with these people.

Basically, my vulnerable, 43-year-old self is heading into the den of expectations known as the class reunion.  And for some reason – maybe nearly reaching some new level of self-actualization – I care slightly less than I did at 38.

I really can’t describe what group I belonged to throughout high school.  I was definitely a band geek with some flavoring of academic nerd and artistic flair.  At the beginning of high school, I was extremely dorky.  Having a father as a civics teacher at the same school didn’t quite help my reputation.  I dated very little – probably due to a unhealthy mix of subpar self-esteem mixed with standing in my strict father’s shadow.

By junior and senior year, I had found my rhythm – identifying with the overachievers at the school, hanging out in G-rated situations and pretty much getting along with most people.

After graduating high school, I lived at home during some summers and holiday breaks.  A few months after graduating high school, I left my hometown, only to return for vacations and occasional nights away from seminary.

Life happened – lots of it, and not in the way I was hoping.  My mom would clip out photos of engagement and marriage announcements and send them to me –  none of which were my own.  I stayed safely away in single-Floridaland while my classmates coupled up and had children.

Sometimes, I challenge my expanding body and nervous soul to attend alumni gatherings in which I see everyone I knew from the days when I was some fantastic 95 pound overachiever with much more of my life ahead of me.

Yet, I think we’re reaching that point when we don’t care as much about how much we haven’t done or how fabulous we are compared to someone else.

We’re reaching the point in which we are just happy to be alive and happy that our friends and classmates are well and still alive.

We’re happy that we’ve all taken time out of our busy schedules and traveled many miles to set aside this weekend to connect in 3D instead of social media.

We are all in our middle years, facing the aging of our parents, their deaths, transitions with our health and understanding that life constantly takes turns for good and bad.  And, yet, we are all still standing.

We are happy to see that many of us have set aside our cans of ozone-reducing hairspray to attain bangs of great heights and chopped off business-up-front-party-in-the-back mullets – although it’s all good if that’s our hairstyles of choice.

We are happy to set aside time to feel like our inner 18-year-olds still exist even when our bodies feel every second of their 43-year-old lives.

I thank my God every time I remember you.  I thank my God every time I can cross the miles to see you.