This weekend my fellow graduates of North Garland High School Class of 1984 will reunite to celebrate our 30 years of post high school life.
30 years can offer a considerable amount of opportunities to grow, learn and stretch beyond the vision of one's high school self.
We've all lived these gorgeously rich lives, whether we realize it of not. We all have matured through challenges that we never envisioned ourselves walking through. We're all so beautifully grown past the "selves" that we probably envisioned at age 18.
Many of us have weathered the parenthood experience and some are even enjoying grand-parenthood.
Lots of us have been blessed to begin new chapters in their lives where they've changed career paths, some out of necessity and some because they didn't want to waste another day wondering "what if?"
Somehow by Saturday night after hanging out with one another again after so many years, we will no doubt fall into our old selves. You know that family dynamic that occurs every holiday gathering where you feel like you're sitting at the kid table again? I'm sure there's a clinical term for it. What ever it is, I'm guessing that we will revert back into it.
It's not that it's a bad thing really. Taking a giant step back can be a really rewarding exercise in observation. It's sort of like that old question, what would you tell your high school graduate self?
Dear Naive 18-year-old Amy,
Stick to the plan - your plan. You will see others going off on their own paths following their own dreams. Follow your own plan but be flexible enough to know when God is tugging you into another direction. It might seem like you're off track but you'll learn soon enough that you're in the right place and the right time. What might seem like a flaw or failure in your planning is really just a divine tweak and everything will fall into place. Stick to the plan.
It's OK to question. You don't know everything and asking questions doesn't make you a dummy. Learn, grow and be the one to find the truth. Truth is empowering.
Get a handle on fear before fear gets in the way of your dreams.
Let your friends know how much they mean to you. If you have something to say to someone, for God's sake say it. You don't want unspoken words bottled up in the root of your soul and then learn online that your old friend died a horrible death that no one deserves. Say what you need to say.
Love your family. Love your family without conditions. Enjoy each day and hug, laugh and love.
It's OK if your brother makes fun of you. He really does believe he's entitled to it and you'll miss his teasing one day.
You might find out you really didn't know you're Dad like you thought. He's human like the rest of us. You will find that he's not afraid to admit where he's made mistakes and he will be that much stronger a person in your eyes for it.
Your Mom is an amazing testament of will, faith and courage. The worry you inflict today will be transformed years later when you wait for the porch light to be turned off.
Your sister will become your best friend. She might grow taller than you and be able to beat you up but she won't. She will on the other hand take on anyone messing with you.
Enjoy MTV. It might seem like a waste of time to sit and watch it for hours, it's cool but it will go away. Just like cassette tapes. And Miami Vice. And Twinkies. Oh wait, those come back. Anyway, embrace MTV because it will sort of define a whole era of your life. Sort of.
Last, do what makes you happy. Laugh. Live out the beautiful and the ugly moments of your life. Continue the journey with the goal of just doing what brings a smile to your face and grows your soul. Don't be closed minded about finding that inner peace. You'll find grace in the simplest of places and love in unexpected ways. Do it, do what makes you happy.
If you could go back and have a chat with your high school graduate self, what would you say?