Monday 14 April 2014

It Doesn't Matter Who You Were, It Is Who You Are Now

Last week I attended a mini high school reunion. About 15 women who once walked the halls of a north Toronto high school gathered around a few tables and shared all the goings on in our lives over the past couple of decades.
We grew up in a decade where shoulder pads, rock Hair Bands, Rubik’s Cube, boon boxes were all the rage. What girl didn’t want John Cusack to show up under their window holding one over his head a la Say Anything. It was our time to start learning about the person we wanted to become. We were acutely aware of everything that went on around us. And we did all this attending an all girl Catholic school in the city.
While some of us have run into one another here and there, there were a few I hadn't seen in years. I was a bit nervous responding to the Facebook invite. I remembered all the ladies attending but didn't really hang out with more than half of them. It wasn't because of any animosity or dislike. These ladies all fascinated me in my youth and still do to this day. You see, I was one of three girls from my elementary school who chose this school. Many of the other ladies had years of friendships that preceded the dreaded "grade 9" year and I felt like an outsider looking in.
My high school years were fun and the group of girls I hung out with were amazing. There was a comforting similarity among us. It was easier to spend time with someone who was a mirror image of yourself rather than learning how to befriend someone you felt was more cool, less cool, more intelligent, more adventurous, less silly than you were. That would take courage and it was already hard enough figuring out the familiar. Looking back, I wish I was brave enough to step out that comfort zone and venture across the hall and say hello. It was the unfamiliar that intrigued me and frightened me.
I always watched these girls in awe. They were fashionable and hip. They were adventurous and rebellious. And I yearned to be like them. As outgoing as I was, I carried fear and reservation within me. I remembering listening to their stories of fun and craziness and I envied the memories they were creating. Even listening to them share these same stories the other night, I felt that same old pang of envy. And although I had my own crazy stories to share, the age old adage "the grass is always greener" kept creeping up in my mind.
But looking around the table, I realized something. Our accomplishments and life stories were pretty freaking awesome. Motorcycles rides in Africa, moving overseas, travelling the globe, amazing jobs and fantastic moms. This is who we are. Each a part of the same fabric that our high school years started to weave so many years ago. Our roads were all so different yet here we were all together again. It didn’t matter that we weren’t all part of the same clique growing up. We are all part of the same clique now. The girls of yesterday had all become the same strong women of today.
I have to say thank you to technology and social media. It is only through this that I have been able to bring these women into my life and get to know them as adults, with no fear or envy. The night was filled with hilarious memories, great new stories, flipping through year books and learning about each other in new chapters of our lives. Gone are the kilts and stone walls. The school retreats are done and the only proms we have to look forward to are those of our children. Life is our school now and I can honestly say it's nice to have these women walk the halls with me.
So to all the Abbey ladies, our years up on the hill were memorable and fun but I look forward to the years ahead, where we can continue to share our stories and laugh until our bellies ache.
Talk to me! If you had the wisdom of today in your teenage years, what would you do differently?


  1. Love it Audrey. Made me smile remembering all the times at the Abbey and wishing I could have been there last week. You are all very special people who will hold a place in my heart and memories 😉

    1. Noelle, we missed you last week! It was really nice to get together and catch up in person but at least we have the internet to keep in touch! I miss the Abbey days. We were a colourful bunch of gals who were going to conquer the world, and we did! <3 <3 <3

  2. I enjoyed reading this! About two years ago I attended the first ever elementary school reunion and met some of my old buddies I had never seen again since then. The greatest surprise was that they still felt the same! Older and a bit wiser maybe, but still the same smile, the same silliness, the same attitude (good or bad).

    As for your question, I wouldn't know what to do differently. I guess it was OK back then.

    1. your post was so nice too! i love going down memory lane, remembering smiles, laughter, tears and joy. and it is pretty awesome to be able to do it often since social media has made the world a little bit smaller :)