The Journey: A Friend and A 25-year High School Reunion

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By SAMANTHA BRAZIE, Special to The Paper

Something has been weighing on my heart lately, Paper readers … and that is something that whether we want to admit it or not, we all need – a sense of belonging. I’m sure you’ve heard of this at one point or another. Sense of belonging is the human emotional need to belong, somewhere: with your family, at work, at church, a gym community etc. I think of it as being a ‘Norm’ (you know, from a little show called Cheers). 

The world is more connected than it ever was in a lot of ways, but this last couple of years has also separated us in far more ways. So now more than ever, it’s important that all of us feel that we truly belong, somewhere. 

I am very fortunate in that there are several diverse, small pockets in my life where I have a sense of belonging. However, a couple of things have risen to the surface recently where I discovered there were opportunities to make this area of my life better. One has to do with a lot of distance that has grown with a long term friend, another was my 25-year high school reunion (you read that right – 25 YEARS!!). 

I heard about my high school reunion right around the time my aunt passed away and I flew up on short notice for her funeral. At her funeral, I ‘ran into’ who I considered to be my best friend in high school even though we didn’t go to school together – we met at my first job at Kmart. Well, the reunion was scheduled for a little under two months later and I decided to come back since I didn’t have time to see anyone in the limited time and short notice I was able to give. Well, when the Uber dropped me off at the reunion, I was one click of my phone away from going straight back to the hotel, but that would have been one of the biggest mistakes I could have made, to date. 

I had a great time and re-connected with some people I had not seen since my senior year. While still a little ‘cliquey,” that’s ok. I have peace in knowing that I talked to exactly who I should have and my heart is a little more whole knowing how well and happy the people there seemed to be. There is also a lot of opportunity to go back and continue on that reconnection Journey. I was also able to see that best friend for dinner that weekend and might have a new travel buddy, which I am so excited about. 

As far as my friend goes, we will be fine. She and I have been through a lot over the years and although it doesn’t seem like it at times, I believe we will get back to being there for each other, defending each other and always knowing we are each other’s safe space. 

All of this is to say that if we are not vulnerable and if we run away from situations that make us uncomfortable because we will be emotionally exposed, we are missing out on a part of life that is genuinely one of the very best parts. Get outside of your comfort zone and live more than you ever thought you could and you will not regret it, friends. 

“Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they are never weakness.” – Brene’ Brown

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