I didn’t shake hands, hug, or talk to all of my classmates at our 30th high school reunion last night. I will admit there were a few people in attendance whom I did not recognize. I had to covertly ask someone I did know, “Do you know who that is?”
I will also freely admit that I stayed pretty close to my comfort zone of well-established friendships. And many of the others gravitated toward their familiar associations too. But you know what, I think we were all okay with that.
For me, the quality of last night’s experience, and not the quantity of attendees, is what has me crafting this blog post.
This is not about taking a trip down memory lane. Rather, this is about the transformations I witnessed. It’s about “fitting-out” and not “fitting-in.”
A friend beckoned me from across the room. She explained that an acquaintance wanted to tell me something, but she was nervous because we really didn’t know each other well.
The acquaintance began to tell me how much she enjoyed my writing and she also began to cry. Raw emotion had overwhelmed her. She let go of her fear, her insecurity, her embarrassment. She no longer wanted to fit-in and just bury what she wanted to say.
In that moment, I hugged her and whispered to her, “I don’t know what you are struggling with in your life, but I am glad that my words resonate with you. We don’t walk the same path of hardship, but you are not alone. Thank you for sharing this with me.”
In essence, I let her know that it was okay to fit-out.
A couple decided to make a significant lifestyle change. He lost 40 pounds and she lost 20 pounds since I last saw them a year ago. They were tired of the old versions of themselves. Perhaps they don’t exactly fit-in with the same social circles they were accustomed to, but let me tell you, they looked comfortable. Congratulations on your courage to fit-out!
My classmates are battling MS, they are divorced, they lost a spouse, they were outcasts 30 years ago, they are now extroverts, they are now introverts, etc. While the world is full of people who live with similar circumstances, we are all unique.
My point is this: Each one of us has an opportunity every day to go against the status quo. In being comfortable with our perceived “flaws,” by fitting out, we have a chance to make a difference in somebody else’s life.
In being uncomfortable with the current or past versions of ourselves, we can take incremental steps to restore the harmony in our lives.
I can say with certainty that we never know the full impact that our actions have on others. I believe when we let go of our fascination to receive Likes, Re-tweets, or other forms of permission and approval we begin to fit-out.
Then, we have the potential to make a true difference in this world.
Thank you to all my classmates who attended the reunion and also to those who chose to fit-out by not attending.
Thank you to the individuals who have held on to keepsakes from our past, compiled memorials of our classmates who have left us, and your extremely diligent work in organizing and running both the 25th and 30th reunions. Thank you!
Be Kind. Be Thankful. Be Significant.