Going out on a limb.

So, you know when you break up with someone after a really long relationship, and you”ll go seemingly forever without seeing or speaking to them?

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20 Years Later…

Weeks ago I blogged about whether or not to attend my upcoming 20 year high school reunion.  I detailed the specifics and asked readers to weigh in on the issue (via the post SHOULD I STAY or SHOULD I GO?) Thanks to many of you for offering your opinions and encouragement (and even bigger thanks to my folks for getting me a free hotel room), I made the decision to – GO FOR IT!

I spent Thanksgiving Day in Maine with my family, cooking and feasting, and the rest of the weekend traveling to & from Philadelphia for this “once in a lifetime” event.  And as promised, I’m BACK to blog all about it!  WOOT!  I’ll try not to dwell on the drive – which for a normal person would have been grueling but for someone like me (with Meniere’s) was just shy of hellish, and instead focus on the PARTY.  My 20 year high school reunion in a nutshell?  CRAZY FUN.  Truly one of the most unforgettable and surreal experiences of my life (drive included).

Picture yourself traveling back in time… 5 years.. 10 years.. 15, 20… You step into a room filled with former classmates, and…

From the moment I arrived at the reunion, I was transported – not just back to high school, but all the way to childhood.  Greeting me at check-in was a friend I’d known since I was 5, who’d slipped a Van Halen poster into my 6th grade desk to impress me.  There stood friends I’d known for YEARS, people who’d played with me as children, laughed with me as adolescents, and Yes, even dated me as teenagers.  Most of my very best friends were in attendance, all of us reunited under one roof.  And seeing each of their faces, changed after so many years, and yet so fundamentally the same, was worth every bit of the travel agony I had endured.

My 20 year high school reunion was amazing, not just because of the memories it brought back, but because of our collective present.  Teenage insecurity, awkwardness and fear be damned!  Each of us returned to this reunion armed with 20 years of personal growth.  Regardless of career choice, whether married or not, childless or not, rich /poor/ or in between, all of us are now (thankfully) adults.  And at age 38/39, most of us seem to like ourselves.

And you know what?  It shows.  From the get-go I was astounded by just how great everyone looks!  Sure, we’ve all aged, but on the whole we’re far more attractive now than we were in high school.  Why?  Because 20 years later… we’ve grown up.  And not just up; we’ve grown INTO ourselves.  As teens we thought we knew everything, but we spent more time wondering what others were thinking than ever truly thinking.  We worried, we picked, we agonized over minutia.  Time has erased many of those petty concerns, replacing them with understanding and PRIORITIES.  We’ve faced challenges, we’ve made accomplishments and we didn’t need to waste the night trying to prove anything.

Instead we enjoyed each other, and ourselves. We made chit-chat with those we recognized, we delved deep with those we’d truly known, and I for one came away changed. That’s what happens when you reunite.  You can close a chapter on your life with a smile, and without regret. Whether you’ve told someone they were special, or said you were sorry for a past wrong, reunions are an opportunity to explore another side of yourself. A former side, finally at peace with the present.  It was a wonderful night.

Huge thanks to the reunion committee for all their hard work, and to the many people whose photographs I’ve reprinted here — thanks for the memories!

Photos courtesy of Amy Eisman Kaplan, Jill Katz, Shawn Kwon-Chang, and Brian Miller, Chorus Media.
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Turkey Floats

In yesterday’s post about the dead turkey, I mentioned the males are beginning to display.  So I thought I would elaborate with some photos.

If you are from Philly, then you know who the Mummers are.  If you are not, then you are missing out!  The Mummers are a Philly tradition.  They are a collective of local neighborhood clubs composed historically of men; nowadays there are lots of women too.  These guys & gals get together over the course of each year to put together elaborate costumes and routines for an annual New Year’s Day parade.  Some of the Mummers play instruments, others are strictly theatrical.  But all of the costumes are over the top.  Think MORE is MORE.

Here is an elaborately costumed Mummer.

And here is one of the male turkeys in full display.

Being from Philly, I can’t help but think of the Mummers.  The male turkeys glide across the yard like mini parade floats.  They strut, they cluck, it’s crazy.  They want these lady turkeys SO BAD!  But the girls, quite honestly, don’t seem to want anything to do with them.  I saw one female (she must be one of the hottie turkeys b/c the males were surrounding her, strutting & bobbing like mad) she practically flew across the yard to get away from them.  And seriously, can you blame her?  Just look at those big red sacs – can you imagine some dude following you round Target w/ a dangly scrotum stuck to his face?!  YIKES!