I’ve grown old.
I came to this realization the other night when I caught up with some of the coolest, most fun people I’ve known in my life.
And even though I hadn’t seen most of them in about 25 years, we were instantly comfortable with each other.
Yes, I went to a school reunion.
It was a first for me.
Now, of course I would have loved the chance to drop a few kilos, undergo some cosmetic surgery, and perhaps get a Trinny and Susannah-style makeover.
Of course, I didn’t have the time or the money for said makeover, but in the end it didn’t matter.
Because these were people who knew me way back when, at a time when we were works unfinished. There was no need to impress, the only requirement was to be there. And, just as I was in school days, to be accepted for being who I am.
These were people who knew me in simpler times. Times when we were all full of life, and hope, and dreams. We knew who we were, weren’t shy about expressing our feelings, and our friends were like family.
Oh, and don’t forget, we thought we knew it all!
We were the class of 1985 at Kingaroy State High School, and quite frankly, we rocked.
To my great delight, I’m pretty sure we still do.
Yes, the years have added or taken away, hair, kilos, and innocence.
Some of us have lost loved ones, and added them, in the form of partners, parents, and kids.
We’ve all been on amazing journeys: Good, bad, beautiful, and at times ugly.
In 2010, there was something really lovely and comforting about catching up on old times with people with whom I once shared so much.
Due to the magic of Facebook, and the enthusiasm and organisation of former-KSHS student Ros Westman (nee Dahms), a bunch of us gathered at the Kingaroy Hotel Motel for the occasion.
The pub, like Kingaroy, has had a makeover since we attended school there. (Erm, in Kingaroy, not at the pub. 'Cos it would be weird to go to school at a pub!)
Anyway. There was food, drinks, good company, and, thanks to Ros, loads of 80s music to enjoy. And who could ever have imagined that one could eat sushi at Kingaroy?
At one stage, a few of us realized we couldn’t hear each other over the music. We loved it, but we also wanted to chat without straining our vocal cords. And so, to my great embarrassment and shame, I went to the bar and asked for the unthinkeable: For the music to be turned DOWN.
“Oh my God, we’re old,” a couple of people shouted.
And so we are. Well, kind of.
Who knew, as we parted in 1985, with signed and torn school shirts, drenched in water from our very last water fight, that life would suck quite so much? Or that it would, at other times, be too wonderful for words?
That we would experience great joy and great losses, make dreams come true, and at times, experience nightmares?
In the interests of protecting the privacy of those involved, I won’t go into details.
Suffice it to say that among us, at least one of us would die, sadly, violently and at the hands of another human being. Saddened, we remembered that person with great affection, knowing how much she would have enjoyed being a part of the reunion, since her lovely mother sent a message expressing just that and wishing us well. RIP my friend.
As the years passed, some of us would marry and divorce, and either go in for a second round or swear off romance for life.
A few would escape violent and/or dysfunctional relationships; others would fall in love with wonderful partners - some sooner than others, some later.
Some peeps would stay resolutely single, others would change orientation completely.
Since graduating, a few of us have lost parents or are involved in caring for them. Others have endured terrible accidents or illnesses.
Some of us have kids of our own, while others have furry babies as well as or instead of human ones. At least one of us will soon be a groovy grandparent!
I’m proud to say, most of us have achieved and even excelled in our chosen professions.
Best of all, despite our rollercoaster-rides since high school, we are still basically the same people. Perhaps older, wiser, greyer, thinner, balder, fitter and/or wider.
That night, we giggled and gossiped about fab teachers, and crap ones; about crushes and first loves; and how we probably learned more about sex from the pages of Cosmo and Cleo than biology class.
And for one night, we remembered a side of ourselves that perhaps we’d forgotten.
In December 1985, a few of us promised we would be friends forever. I’m so glad to have reconnected with those friends, and for what it’s worth, I keep my promises.
Classmates from 1985 in 2010