Wear Sunglasses

Thirty years ago, I was 18.
Thirty years hence, I’ll be 78. (oh my! is that correct?!)
I’ve never really thought about it like that before. But my 30th high school reunion is coming up. And, quite frankly, it’s got me thinking about a lot of different things.
Like aging and growth. Like making decisions and making mistakes. Like Bruce Springsteen’s “Glory Days” song.
I wonder: what do I know today that I wish I had known when I was in high school?
I wonder: what do you know today that you wish you had known when you were in high school?

If you could actually go back in time and sit down with the you who just graduated from high school, what would you tell her? What words of wisdom would you impart?
I haven’t attended many reunions, high school or otherwise. What are they like? Have you gone? I’ll be seeing people I haven’t seen in many, many years. People I lost touch with long ago.
Until Facebook, that is. Boy, oh boy, that Facebook is awesome. I have enjoyed catching up with people from my past. I think Facebook is one reason this 30 Year Reunion will be so much fun. So many of us have already gotten back in touch with each other.
And, we have history together. I know things about them. And they know things about me too! I think it’s rather unusual, but many of the kids in my kindergarten class were also in my high school graduation class.

While I was in high school, I quoted Frank Zappa, “High school is a state of mind.” I spent my days looking forward to the moment I could leave. “Distracted” might best describe my high school years. I was ready to move forward; ready to move on. I graduated half a year early to start college. Out, that was my main goal.

I couldn’t have cared less about the cliques. I didn’t care what someone had or didn’t have. I never viewed myself as better or worse than anyone else. I wasn’t cool or uncool. I just was. Take it, leave it; like it, lump it; I didn’t spend much time or energy thinking about it. Needless to say, that kind of attitude doesn’t get you elected homecoming queen. Come to think of it, I have no idea who the homecoming queen was. But, I do know that it wasn’t me.
So, to myself? What would I say to me at 18?

Hey, you, with all the mascara on, (Maybelline’s Great Lash, don’t you know!), listen up:
S~L~O~W    D~O~W~N.
Plant a garden, even if it’s just on your deck.
Forgive everybody.
Wear your retainer.
Learn now how to build a decent fire.
Don’t quit seeking just because you haven’t found.
Learn to like your freckles.
Wear sunglasses. (Sun causes premature cataracts.)
And wear sunscreen.
Oh! Do you remember that graduation song from some time ago? “Wear Sunscreen”? It has some great words of wisdom in there. I think I’d tell myself all the things contained in those lyrics. (I think I’ll tell my daughter too.)
(And here’s the one that’s not hyper- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sTJ7AzBIJoI)
The lyrics to that little gem came from an article in the Chicago Tribune.
Now it’s your turn. Two things: first, have you attended any of your high school reunions? And two, what would you say to your 18 year old self if you could? Time for you to do the talking. Leave a comment!
Until next time, Friends, savor the flavor of life!
Lots of love, The City Farmgirl, Rebekah

  1. Brenda says:

    No, have not gone to any of my high school reunions. Live in another state and there was always something pressing that kept me from going. What I would say to my 18 year old self. Smarten up, don’t marry that boy and find a way any way at all to go to college. I married him, divorced him 11 years later. Did not have a clue about student loans or if there were any back then. Grew up in small towns and all the girls were getting married or engaged that I hung with. All is well that ends well though. But I would still tell myself that one thing.

  2. Linda says:

    The only high school reunion I attended was my 10 year. Mainly because my friend and I were in charge of making it happen. After that, no one took on the task and our 25 year just recently passed us by without any event. Thankfully I’ve stayed connected to those I care about the most and re-discovered old classmates via Facebook.

    Here’s what I’d say to my 18-year old self: Don’t be afraid to take risks. Step out of your comfort zone more often. Appreciate all that life is going to give you. Good, bad or otherwise, it’s all yours. Spend more time with your mother. She won’t be here by the time you turn 42, and you’re going to miss her more than you thought possible.

  3. Teri says:

    I’d tell myself to act more like my daughter is now. She is hopelessly in love with her friends and enjoys high school. She states out loud her opinion to those that boss around other kids, won’t tolerate swearing in front of her, and won’t hesitate to tell others when they’re being overly dramatic—even her friends. Sound bossy? Not at all. She adores and even protects her teachers. And would give the shirt off her back (or lunch in her hand) to anyone that needed it. She’s everything I was not in high school…self-assured, assertive, and outgoing!

  4. Joan says:

    Yes, I attended the 10th reunion – that one because it happened at the same time as a family reunion so I was in town. It was ok but people were still stuffed shirts – get over yourselves – see what life is really like. I had LIFE come at me early in my years and they were still lala’s. Well I have now become my true self – no one TELLS me what to do in my life – well except the Lord and He actually guides me – always had ones that controlled me and if they hadn’t I would have stayed on the farm and planted – more than seeds of grain – I could have planted my love of life. So my words to my grandchildren is – Love the Lord, be true to the Lord and in turn you will be true to yourself and now matter what comes your way HE will see you through.

  5. kay says:

    Attended the 10 year reunion. With a graduating class of
    nearly 1000…there were alot of folks…and most were unchanged. Haven’t had a hankerin to revisit the event.

    I would tell my 18 year old self to take it one day at a time…don’t worry about the past or future too much.

  6. Linda says:

    i haven’t been to any of my reunions. I was one of those people that faded into the background. The class seemed to be overrun by bullies. Even my friends and next door neighbor didn’t remember me after a semester of college. Today, it’s a different story. i’m a 60 yr old woman who loves life. I have confidence and strength I never thought possible. The world is my oyster. I tell anyone who will listen, including myself, if you can imagine it, you can do it. I just wonder if I would’ve listened when I was 18.

  7. Cheri says:

    I have been to nearly all of mine. Just went to my 41st last month. I like the people I grew up knowing. I was invisable in school. Never anyone popular but I knew everyone. I planned a couple before I knew it was supposed to be the class officers. They did not care and came anyway. Things I would tell myself:
    I too would say slow down.
    Go to college.
    Believe you can regardless of what others say. Because you can!
    Don’t marry to leave home.
    Wait a bit before you have children.
    Life passes quickly.
    Enjoy your children while they are growing up. They will be grown faster than you think.
    Save for the future.
    Would I really change things now? Just a few.

  8. Linda says:

    Don’t try so hard to figure out which crowd you belonged with. Be yourself and get to really know more about the people you’re going to school with. Be in the moment and have way more fun with lots of different people not just your "click"

  9. KimberlyD says:

    I went to my 5th year and than to my 20th reunion. The 5th year reunion everyone was still hanging out with the same people, like they did in high school. But our 20th was good, everyone mingled more. I too have found my class on facebook and have reconncted with my class.
    I would tell my 18 yr old self, give college a try, don’t drop out after the 1st week, we think your major. I did later go back to college 12 yrs later.
    I fine it funny those who have never gone to a class reunion wear it like a badge of honor that they never went.

  10. I’ve attended many of my class reunions…helped plan many and edited our school’s alumnae bulletin for six plus years. Discovered that the older we became, the more fun we girls had together. The "clicks" faded with time. Our 51st occurs this September.

    I’d tell my daughters to be willing to risk, to go for that brass ring, and not to allow fear of failure to hold them back.

  11. Reba says:

    Pay attention to time…don’t waste it!

  12. Sarah says:

    Nope, my tenth went by and I didn’t even regret it. My former boss told me not to both with reunions till the 20th one, because by then everyone’s kind of over trying to impress everyone else with their accomplishments, and they can just be there. I’ll take that to heart and wait 8 more years. 🙂

  13. Leslie says:

    Attended 10 and 20….nothing new so skipped 30….40 is coming up…we’ll see….not so much of the past but the current. The folks I want to stay in touch with, I do. So much for aging, but FaceBook has helped.

  14. Cheryl says:

    I attended all of the formal reunions. Now we have started multi-year mini reunions every few months. Its also for those that attended school with us but moved, or for other reasons did not graduate with us.
    These are informal and everyone on our facebook high school group keeps up to date and lets others know. We had 125 attend our last get-together in July.
    We arrange with a local tavern or restaurant for a pay as you go on a Saturday afternoon and early evening. We give them a rough idea of how many to expect so there is wait staff available. We have classmates fly in for these events.
    Some who can’t attend one will show up at the next one.
    We are now planning our third one for October.

  15. Tawni says:

    What a great post. I would tell myself not to get married so young. It seemed like the thing to do, but yhears later I saw the mistake. I haven’t gone to my reunions. No real interest there.

  16. BRENDA says:

    If I knew then what I know now I would have spent more time doing things with my three boys instead of just watching them make a tent over the dining room table while I was busy cleaning or cooking I wish that I was under the table with them. I was a few times but always had something that had to be done. I would always tell the people I love that I love them and God loves them everyday. I would spend more time with my parents even at 18 I thought they were to old to understand me. I would Not had gotten that perm that looked so go in the magazine. I haven’t been to any class reunions but my best friend since 3rd grade are still best friends and we get together about 4- 6 times a year and talk at least 2-3 times a month. That job I had in High School I would of kept instead of getting married (40 years) right away thinking that being a wife and mother was what I was suppose to do.Now for the next years in my life I hope to make the most of my grandchildren love and respect them and like my mom and dad I can’t understand some of the way they dress. But I am going to find the time to take the time for ME.( I hope).

  17. all8garden says:

    I blogged my answer.

  18. Michele says:

    Sometimes it is better to listen to what others have to say to you at a class reunion.
    I had a blast in high school and made the most out of my time there. I was on the fringes of a lot of different groups; the "in" crowd, the eggheads, the choir nerds, but the greatest blessings I received were at our 30th (gulp) reuniion when several people told me that I had made their high school days easier becaqause I had been nice to them. They were the kids who weren’t part of any of the "cool" groups but because I took 2 foreign languah=ges and ap classes they were my classmates. How rewarding to know that people remembered me for simply being nice to them

  19. Iggy says:

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