exposure

last weekend i was in pasadena for my 20-year high school reunion. my parents sent me down there for my birthday present. my birthday (38! i’m sure you would have figured that out.) was the day before the reunion, so i was able to celebrate with some friends at my favorite mexican restaurant in pasadena.

i went to a small school. about 80 in my graduating class, i think. so considering that, there was a really good turn-out for the reunion. here we are having our class picture taken:

that's me, front right. the photographer wanted me to get up on the risers, but i thought that might be a bad idea.

a good looking group, huh? this was my first reunion, and at dinner i realized that i needed to make a choice – cruise around and chat a bit with lots of folks, or stay at my table and enjoy real conversation with a smaller group of people. i chose to stay at the table – i try to choose substance when given the chance, and i figured that wandering around in a poorly lit grassy small space littered with tables and chairs and purses was probably a worse idea than getting on the risers. it was a hard choice, actually – lots of folks i wanted to have a chance to connect with.

two of us at the table (including me) brought date/sidekicks from the class of ’90. there were folks at my table who i hadn’t seen since we graduated, and folks who i’ve seen many times since then. the conversation leaned towards nostalgia, as it is want to do at these kinds of things, i suppose. the evening was full of lovely genuine moments. i was so glad to be there. and now that i think about it, my stroke wasn’t a topic of dinner conversation at all. cool.

in the world of facebook and blogs, most folks seemed to already know about my stroke, so i was spared from having to tell the story over and over. one woman (clearly a blog reader) commiserated with me  about curb cuts. no, this wasn’t marcy, my classmate who also had a stroke. this woman has other neurological issues. i was glad to hear encouragement, and also glad to talk about other things. my stroke is probably the shiniest thing about me right now, but there’s much more to my previous two decades.

i look at this picture of us and think about the hardships we’ve been through – we’ve dealt with strokes, cancer, illnesses of our children, fertility issues, divorce, death of loved ones. and many things i don’t know about. but we made it. and it felt really good to spend an evening with these smart, kind people. if you have the chance to add 20 years to your life, i highly recommend that you do.

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