Present Tense

16 again…

I’m sitting here pondering what to wear to my class reunion in two weeks.  I don’t have anything in my closet that even approaches dressy, particularly summery, dressy.  I hate to shop and I just don’t care about clothes.  So, I’m fretting.

I haven’t seen most of the people from my high school in decades.  In fact, I didn’t even attend the last class reunion due to pure apathy.

But, in the last several years I’ve re-connected with many of my high school classmates, some of whom I really didn’t know all that well in high school. Thanks to Facebook, some friendships have been kindled and re-kindled and I’m anxious to see them face to face, now that we’re all grown-ups.

I have nothing to prove and no real need or urge to impress anyone. In fact, part of the beauty of re-connecting via social networking as 50-somethings is that most of us have completely outgrown our high school personas.  Thank God, right?

Yet, I feel like I do have to bow to convention or at least make an attempt to clean up and fit in, appearance-wise.  Is this the old, high school need to fit-in, rearing it’s middle-aged head?

Is it the same thing that I feel when I’m with my family?  I tend to revert to my 10 year-old self when I’m with parents and siblings.  Do we revert back to 16 at class reunions?  God help me.

I suppose we all have something to prove, if not to our classmates, then to ourselves.  We want to show that we did okay, that we fit in, that we’re able to dress ourselves.  That last one eludes me anymore. I used to care what I wore, but now I just don’t and I’m not sure why and it’s not worth exploring right now, seeing as how it’s very low on my personal-demon priority list.

So, I will spend the next week and a half trying to scrounge together a presentable outfit, for a get together with people that I only really know virtually at this point.  And it will dog me and worry me and that’s not the reason I’m going to this event.  I’m going to meet the fabulous people that have blossomed into interesting (mostly) well-adjusted grown-ups, the same way that I have.

I can’t wait to hear the stories of struggles and triumphs and growth and regression and pain and joy.  We have 35 years to sift through since graduation.  Who cares about my outfit?

The 16 year-old me, it seems.

July 26, 2013 - Posted by | Musings | , , , , , ,


  1. The beauty is…you don’t care what you wear and you shouldn’t! That’s breaking out of the teenage mold right? You’re super cool and I wished you went to MY high school in the Midwest! (I grew up in Iowa). I don’t know if you agree, but I feel a “bow to convention or at least make an attempt to clean up and fit in, appearance-wise” is a very Midwest value. I lived it! I think you look great! I declined my 30 year reunion two years ago because I didn’t feel at the time I measured up (plus I’m a golf pro and I have to have a REALLY good reason to travel in the summer. Today, I would feel differently. You’re the bomb Jane (aka Kini)….they will be lucky to enjoy your humor, experience and perspective on life as I have. Have fun and wear your most comfy clothes ever…you’re adorable:) L.

    Comment by Lana Ortega | July 26, 2013 | Reply

  2. Jane, I was in your situation a few years ago when I went to my 30th high school reunion. I’m originally from Illinois and I went to a bit of a hoity-toity high school, where much of the time I felt I didn’t fit in. I grew up in an upper middle class home, where we had everything we needed and had to work for things we wanted. Most of my classmates drove fancy cars to school and here I was in my 1976 Datsun B210 four-door. After much deliberating with myself, I ended up going back for my reunion and wasn’t sure what to expect. I was so pleasantly surprised how people’s hearts had changed over the years. It was no longer “show me what you have”; it was “show me who you are!” I was totally floored! I wouldn’t change that experience for anything. I’m more in touch with people now, even people who really didn’t speak much to me in school. So….I think you should go and I think you should wear something comfortable and casual. I wish you well and a wonderful experience. Keep us posted. I’ll be anxious to hear about your journey!

    Comment by Lisa Stevens | July 26, 2013 | Reply

  3. I literally just came home from my 25th reunion. And I have to say, as I was driving over, I completely reverted to the insecure 16 year old girl, and hope that someone would sit at the “lunch table” with me. Crazy right? However, once the awkward first meetings were over with, we all sat down and just had a really good time sitting and chatting. As an aside, the outfits ranged from little black dresses to jeans and cowboy boots. I opted for a skirt, T-shirt and open toed flats. We are all who we are, and it showed. Just thought I’d throw that out there…

    Comment by shellybelly12 | July 26, 2013 | Reply

  4. Wow, I think I read about ME in there somewhere…. I know that I have many questions for you about that awesome career that you built for yourself. The fact that many of us have been able to connect here has been great. Notice I say connect and not re-connect because although we knew one another, we really never hung out. I was probably too much of a jerk, I mean jock to know what was really going on at that time. It seems so long ago now. Although, when I get together with some of our classmates it seems like yesterday. I look forward to seeing you and talking with you. By the way, I will be the guy in the faded Verlander jersey and shorts……. T.

    Comment by Tim Lankerd | July 27, 2013 | Reply

  5. You and I are the same age and from the Midwest. My graduating class was 125 people so most of our reunions have been small and informal. I have only attended one but was ultimately glad I did.
    I hate to shop, too. I think we are about the same size and comfort-loving level. I have had luck finding comfy yet cute summer dresses at Title Nine and Athleta online. They can be dressed up with flat or heeled sandals or dressed down with Tevas, flip flops, sneakers or barefoot around the house. Easy returns if you don’t like them. Easy machine washable fabrics.
    You will definitely wear them beyond the reunion.
    Although I do not work for either company, I think I should;)
    Best of luck. I’ll be sending my sister’s Black Belt in Shopping energy to you!

    Comment by Erica T | July 27, 2013 | Reply

    • Erica:
      90% of my wardrobe is Athleta or Title Nine. Although I’ve been perusing the dresses, I’ve yet to pull the trigger:) Maybe this weeekend I should get online and take the plunge!

      Comment by janelondon | July 27, 2013 | Reply

      • I think you’ll be glad you did. I got two simple solid colored, short/capped sleeved, rounded V-neck dresses that have a little gathering between the girls (I need it). From under there, it flows in a sort of A-line to the knee. I got it in a pretty blue and a dark brown. I like it because it does not cling to where I don’t want clung;) Sometimes I wear a light support garment underneath on those wowwheredidallTHATcomefrom days.

        Comment by Erica T | July 27, 2013

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