Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Power of Change

It takes a lot of courage to release
the familiar and seemingly secure,

to embrace the new.
But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful.
There is more security in the adventurous and exciting,
for in movement there is life,
and in change there is power.

~Alan Cohen

My twenty-year high school reunion is coming up this year, so I've been spending time catching up with old friends on email and facebook. We're planning a summer trip to the old homestead to participate.

The reunion gives me cause to reflect on where I started and where I am now. It makes me wonder whether the woman I am now bears any resemblance to the seventeen year old girl I was when I graduated.

Some things about me have changed very little. Back then, I was a stubborn, shy, intelligent girl who loved to write. I had a few close friends rather than many. But I laughed a lot, loved sports and adored my Dad. Those things haven't changed about me.

But some things have.

There are the surface differences. My hair now is less like a fluffy pile of feathered wonder and more like a good pretzel -- golden brown with a healthy dose of salt up top. My body shows the signs of having borne three children. My hands are the evidence that I'm raising them.

There are also changes it would be hard to pinpoint in before and after photographs.

I know who I am now and I'm not afraid of what other people think. Back then, I spent a lot of time being afraid. I wanted to do everything right in others' eyes. Now I just do what I feel in my heart is right.

I've learned to trust my inner voice. Back then, I was more likely to trust the guidance of others -- I didn't even know what my inner voice sounded like. It's shocking to realize how much influence other people had over me in my decisions about friends and boys, even what to wear. But, those days are over.

I am more forgiving of other people's faults now, more compassionate, more generous and understanding. When you're a mom it's part of the job description.

I'm more politically Liberal now. I probably always was. I just couldn't find expression for it until college and afterward. Now that my core and I are on speaking terms, it's easier to keep my beliefs in line with my politics, and vise-versa.

I have followed a winding path to get where I am -- through college and graduate school, living in Michigan, DC, Russia, New Hampshire, and Illinois, working, through friendships and relationships, through heartbreak, disillusionment and disappointment, growth, rebirth, love, and marriage, bearing and raising three children. But I'm grateful for the path and happy with the destination -- this place, this day, this family.

I am not who I was. But I am satisfied with who I am.

It makes me wonder what kind of transformations my high school friends have gone through, what challenges they have succumbed to or overcome? The historian in me wants to know it all, to trace the pathways of their lives. The friend in me wants to be introduced to the new people my old friends have become.

Maybe that's what reunions are meant to do. Maybe they aren't about the 'glory days' so much as they are about using them as a starting point for new relationships. I hope so.

In a weird way, I guess that means I'm looking forward to this reunion.

How completely unexpected.

How unlike me.

How exciting.

- Midwest Mom


  1. I'm sure you'll have a wonderful time :)

  2. Sounds exciting, I hope you share the stories with us too!

  3. For me, Facebook has been like a high school reunion, and like you it has made me desire to know even more about old classmates.

    I hope you have a good time at the reunion. Plus, no matter what, I like who you are now.


  4. for some reason I have no desire to go to my reunions. I liked high school. I had good friends. On the other hand, it seems so long ago. But, in the end, being happy with where you are now, is the important part.


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