This past weekend I attended my 30th high school reunion. I have to say, at this point the vast majority of people that attended were very much beyond 'high school'... open and friendly to all in attendance. That was so refreshing and lovely. I left both evening events with a smile on my face, and glad that I had gone.
There were still the 'shy ones' that sat at their table and didn't talk to anyone, didn't smile when approached...heck they weren't even talking to each other. I remember being like that in elementary school. When we moved to Kansas I had an epiphany that nobody 'knew' me and that I could become the person I truly wanted to be; outgoing, outspoken, stick up for others, etc. As a 12 year old, I figured that out. I wanted to go up to that table of folks and say - Hey! People may not have seen you for 30 years! Be yourselves! But of course I didn't. You can't force an epiphany. They were being themselves. The 'themselves' role that they had always played and wouldn't change because they probably didn't even realize they could if they wanted to.
I haven't attended one of these reunions since the 10th. In 20 years - things have changed! But the funny thing, is that nobody sees those changes. People said the nicest things - like 'you haven't changed a bit!' And of course they are talking about the physical appearance. Now obviously they are being quite generous. The 18-year-old me and the 48-year-old me are vastly different. But beyond age, I think my persona has stayed relatively the same; albeit less shy under the surface. The outgoing-me did overtake the shy-me. Thanks 12-year-old me. Good job.
One classmate had followed me along on Facebook and my blog and knew about my weight loss surgery. She was very complimentary and interested in pursuing it herself. We were having a nice conversation about it. Another gal came up and got into the conversation. When I told her how much weight I'd gained and lost over the last 20 years, her response was quite extraordinary. She said,
'That's great'. I guess if you can afford to do it, it's kind of like having Botox before your reunion, huh?'
And off she went.
I'll admit, that one left me speechless. But it did provoke quite a bit of thinking in my hotel room and on the plane ride home.
Here's the thing...
I don't see anything wrong with doing something that makes you feel better about yourself. Whether that's doing 'laser' (still don't know what that means, but I'm assuming it's some kind of facial cosmetic treatment) - and the gal who did it looks fabulous and is stunning inside and out btw. Or botox, or a diet or workout regime. Or a new dress. Or awesome shoes. Reunions make you want to look your best. Nothing wrong with that.
But to assume that I had done weight-loss surgery in order to get ready for a reunion.... really? Sounds rather selfish.
So to set the record straight - I was severely obese. So much so that my insurance AGREED to cover the MEDICAL procedure. It wasn't a cosmetic procedure. It was about saving my life. I was headed down a long tunnel that started with knee, back pain, difficulty breathing, pre-diabetes and who knows what else. It wasn't a magic pill, or a procedure that I emerged from and VOILA!, you lost over 100 pounds. I had to recover from major surgery. I had to follow a diet regimen both before and after that was very precise and very specific. I worked out at the gym (a complete lifestyle change, believe me). I did that a LOT. And I would never have achieved the weight loss without having that epiphany that I needed help. I couldn't do it alone. I tip my hat at those who can.
I decided that this was my one chance to change my life, and I took it. The 12-year-old me came out and took the 48-year-old me by the hair and said, fix this!
But I can guarantee you that I didn't do it for a high school reunion.
I did think about this a lot on the plane ride home. It permeated my thoughts through this morning too. The best part is that I didn't resort to emotional eating in order to make my self feel better about it. I wrote this blog post. So I get to congratulate the 48-year-old me. Good job.
And now I want to look into that 'laser' thing. Heck, that gal looked awesome.
And to the other gal? In all honesty, you haven't changed a bit.