Tuesday, August 30, 2011

10-year Reunion: The Build Up

I think it was in April when I found myself part of the group that was to organize our 10-year high school reunion weekend. There would be a series of events, starting on Thursday evening with a Gala Dinner hosted by the Old Girls Guild at the East London Golf Club. On Friday morning we'd meet at school for the Founder's Day assembly. Friday evening would be a "Girls Night", Saturday afternoon would be a family picnic and on Sunday we'd wrap up with a breakfast. I was asked to organize the event on Friday evening.

I was very fortunate to get a lovely venue, and after sorting out details like catering and the program for the evening, I felt like everything was set.

A few weeks before the reunion, I had a chat with a friend while I was still in East London. She was feeling a bit hesitant about the reunion weekend and I wanted to know why. As can be expected, everyone will want to know what the others have been up to over the past 10 years (let's face it, we're not ALL avid FaceBook-ers to keep up to date with each other's marriages, children etc...)

"What am I going to say?" she asked me. "I'm job-less, husband-less and child-less."

Wait a minute. So am I! 

It's no longer a secret that I have been battling to find a job since I came back to the country from South Korea last year. So I, too, have no job at the moment.

Also, I thought back to our school days - to our "bonding sessions" in the matric quads - where we used to talk about our future. I always thought that by the time our 10-year reunion came around, I'd be married, maybe with a child and I would be a published author. Well, I'm certainly far away from being married with a child :)

I thought of other classmates and what they've been up to over the past decade. Many are living abroad and have taken different paths in life, some not what they expected. I have friends who are climbing the corporate ladder in Johannesburg, some are married with children and are amazing stay-at-home-mums (living all over the world!) Others are engaged and planning their wedding. However, each one of them/us have something to be grateful for. 

I thought about the meaning of "Success". What is it?

Is success earning 20k+ a month? Perhaps. Is it being married to a wonderful man who you have beautiful children with? Maybe. What about just being happy - regardless of one's financial or relationship status?

I came to the conclusion that success means different things to different people. I then tried to imagine packing my life over the past ten years into one box. What would I put in there? 

Something I wouldn't be able to physically put in is "experience". My experience (for another blog) between 2002 and 2003 was life-changing and has made me a much stronger individual. Something else I have to show is my four year Bachelor of Journalism degree from Rhodes University. I've also written for a number of publications - both print and online and have had the opportunity to meet some incredible people.  Spending 3 years in Korea and having many travel experiences has been like a dream come true for me.  Within a matter of days, I was able to take photographs standing next to pyramids in Egypt and then standing on the Great Wall of China in Beijing. I learned how to like myself and enjoy my own company, because almost all my travel was done alone.

So, does that mean that the fact that I don't currently have a paying job of 20k+ and a man at my side makes my a failure? Absolutely not!

I decided to put my anxiety of our school reunion aside and enjoy the time with friends, some of whom I've known for 20 years now!

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