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10-Year High School Reunions, Life Lessons, and Why I'm Glad I Never Became "Most Likely To..."

Posted by Nora | Thursday July 28, 201111 comments
Above: Nora at her graduation

I was in middle school when Lisa Kudrow and Mira Sorvino made me long for my 10-year high school reunion. I had yet to learn the humiliation that comes in the form of the school’s toothless janitor removing your padlock from your locker with the jaws of life and scolding you for forgetting your combination before you even got halfway through your first day of ninth grade--and already I couldn’t wait for my reunion...especially if it ended with a helicopter ride.

Due to a series of unfortunate events, I ended up missing my 10-year reunion last weekend, so I’m having my own trip down memory lane with 2001 Nora and finding that the more things change, the more things change. Won’t you come along?

10 years ago: I was voted most likely to get married. Seriously.

Today: Uhhh...

10 years ago: I cried when my GPA was 3.93. I cried real tears, and was convinced that it would forever be a blemish on my Permanent Record.

Today: I have learned that the only Permanent Record is the Internet. And I’ve just used it to publish my high school GPA.

10 years ago: The Chronic: 2001 was one of my most-played CDs, right after the Backstreet Boys Black & Blue.

Today: No comment.

10 years ago: I got drunk for the first time, fell off a table and learned the meaning of the word “hangover.”

Today: I steer clear of heights whenever I’ve had a few.

10 years ago: I was at Minneapolis’ premier event venue wearing a prom dress inspired by (a.k.a. ripped off from) Gwyneth Paltrow’s Oscar dress.

Today: I was at Minneapolis’ premier event venue for a company picnic.

10 years ago: I was sitting in an ivory tower, saving children from danger and working on my tan as a lifeguard at the public pool.

Today: I sit on a partially-deflated balance ball at my desk and wear SPF 100 on the rare occasions that my skin sees the light of day.

10 years ago:  I was buying phone cards to call my boyfriend long-distance from college because cell phones were an unheard-of luxury and according to my father “only drug dealers and doctors need two-way pagers.”

Today: I’m on my fifth iPhone (because I still can’t have nice things), which is basically just a two-way pager that also has Words with Friends.

10 years ago: I actually pitied my older sister for being 26 and unmarried. I. PITIED. HER.

Today: I realize that had I gotten married at 26, I’d be wishing that COMMAND + Z worked in real life. Also, I was a real a-hole to you, Megs.

10 years ago: I lived on the #2 at McDonald’s, and still couldn’t gain a pound to save my life.

Today: Real women have curves. RIGHT?!

10 years ago: I thought that 28 was an age that would bring me untold riches and wisdom, but was an age that was light years away in an alternate universe. There I’d be, reading quietly in bed next to my handsome husband in a downtown loft in a non-descript city overlooking an unnamed body of water with our four blonde children tucked into their beds down the hall. During the day I would do something ambiguous that involved me wearing powerful skirt suits and drinking coffee, my hair pulled into a perfect french twist (oh my GOD I know, but it was the turn of the century and that was cool at the time). At night we would eat beautiful meals that I would create from scratch and they would quietly do their homework while my husband and I gazed lovingly at one another like, “I know, right?” Except that wasn’t a phrase that people used in 2001.

Today: Even though I didn’t end up with four kids at age 28 (HELLO HIGH SCHOOL NORA HOW WOULD THAT EVEN BE POSSIBLE?!), I’ve gotten something better: I got to fill in the middle with 10 years of adventure that I couldn’t have foreseen when I was just a surly teen who thought it was my God-given right to drive my mother’s lime green Beetle whenever I wanted to. I didn’t think, at 18, that I would get my heart broken, or break a heart. I didn’t know I would criss-cross the country and the ocean, forging my own trail and sailing the sea of life and capsizing in rough waters and climbing and (insert other action verbs that relate to life) until I found out what happiness looks like for me.

But I did. And someday I’ll be able tell those four blonde children all about it.

Which preconceptions did you take a U-turn on?
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6 Comments

on July 31, 2011  meredithk115  4,186 said:

Great article. I was especially intrigued by this because I have my 20th reunion coming up next year....

Back then I didn't think too much about the future. I went back through some of my "angst-y" journals and essays and see nothing about 'What I want to be when I grow up.' I have a lot of similar "u-turns" and to be honest, I am friggin' thrilled that I haven't taken a more 'traditional' path. In fact, I was shocked that the majority of my classmates DID do the get married and have kids thing. A lot of them (to my suprise and some to my delight because they were evil) also are doing things that (back then) they claimed were 'beneath them.'

Either way, I have already blocked off that date in the calendar and briefed the other half on the ins and outs, the do's and don'ts and who we are/aren't speaking with (yes, I still hold grudges). While my life now isn't absolutely perfect, I have changed a LOT and am quite happy.

Time to get out the yearbooks......

on July 31, 2011  Nora said:

YES JANINE I WILL MARRY YOU I THOUGHT YOU WOULD NEVER ASK!

on July 29, 2011  Janine . BEAUTYGEEKS said:

Nora, will you marry me? I LOVE you! Seriously. (We'll get someone to help you with those blonde kids.)

on July 29, 2011  Becky  13,068 said:

10 years younger becky wanted to become a pediatrician because her family expected her to go into medicine, but really she wanted to settle down, get married and have kids.

BLERGH!!!

The only part that came true was the married part, but even that at a later date. I got happily married in my mid 20s, no kids and enjoying a really good career. Not what I predicted, but I'm so happy with what I got!!! :)

Nora, you look so pretty in that grad pic!!!

on July 28, 2011  Ali de Bold  STAFF said:

Love it! And what a gorgeous picture of you. 10 years ago I thought I'd be married to my high school sweetheart, living in Winnipeg with children. 10 years ago that idea scared the crap out of me because I knew I wanted to have more experiences and live life/figure out who I was before settling down. But I did have the same dreams for myself that you did about power suits and the perfect chignon. In retrospect I'm quite happy with the way my life turned out!

on July 28, 2011  mamaluv  STAFF said:

I had firmly decided to study medicine (surgery was my chosen specialty) and not get married until 30 and no babies EVER.

Then I fell madly in love, married before 20, have 3 kids and work for ChickAdvisor (though I did finish my undergrad in Science). All in all, I'm pretty happy the way things turned out but wow - couldn't have been more different!

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