Posted by: joha5 | May 3, 2010

Different Strokes, Different Folks: A Reunion Recap

The reason why I have no posted over the past couple of days is because I have been attending a weekend filled with enjoyment and merrymaking at functions revolving around my 10th High School Reunion.  I don’t know how many of you have attended a reunion before but it is quite possibly one of the most surreal experiences that I think you can possibly have.  While 10 years feels like it has taken a long time to pass, just seeing these people makes it feel like next to no time has gone by at all.  Everybody looked a tiny bit older and a bit more mature (some more than others) but nobody looked truly awful, nobody reverted to being back in high school, and everybody was genuinely interested to see what all of our classmates were up to.

Essentially, everything went better than I could have possibly expected.  However, there was one surprise that really caught me off guard.  Maybe it was everybody being self-effacing or humble, maybe it was just the incredible amount of booze that was being consumed at Rocket Bar in downtown Washington, D.C., or maybe it is a symptom of the recession that has been going on for the better part of the past two years, but it seemed that far fewer people were as happy as they wanted to be or thought they would be at this point in their life. 

Now don’t get me wrong, people were successful.  Some were married, some were happily single, some were in longterm committed relationships.  Some were deeply entrenched in their careers, some were just starting out, some had finished Masters Degrees, Doctorates, Juris Doctorates.  Some were teachers, bankers, writers, consultants, managers, and executives.  You get the picture.  You name it and somebody in my class from high school has done it.  From that perspective, it is really inspiring to hear their stories and their successes because it reminds me that I am on a path that will one day be just as successful as my classmates.  But the tradeoff is one that I am not convinced I would ever want to make.  It seems that many people – not all – have had to basically marry their career and sacrifice their lives for the sake of what they do.  They get the money, the glory, the success, and all of the trappings of a great career.  However, they have to work endless days, not have time to enjoy all of the fruits of their labor, be on call at any given point in time, and suffer through great stress in order to make it. 

A lot of people really are ready – and happy – to make that kind of deal with the devil.  More power to them.  Seriously.  Because I know myself and I know that I couldn’t do it.  This doesn’t make them better or worse or me feel jealous of them or even pity them.  They are different from me and they can do what makes them happy.  I just am thankful that I know what makes me happy because therein lies the difference.  It seemed that the people who were happiest at the reunion had achieved a certain balance in life.  Like I said, balance is different for different people but it seemed that the people who I identified as being the happiest had a balance wasn’t skewed only towards love or work or hobbies or whatever and the people who seemed the least happy had too much of a focus on certain aspects of their life.  Don’t get me wrong though.  I was thrilled for everybody either way because these are the choices that they have made and this is what they are making of their lives and that, in and of itself, is inspiring any way you slice it. 

Perhaps one of the reasons I am not as happy as I could be at the moment is because I don’t have the opportunity to focus on a job or career.  This will come and it will come sooner rather than later.  And when it finally does arrive, I will be sure to work hard and to do my absolute best as I travel down the next path that I take.  However, I have never been more convinced that achieving that balance in life is more important than working 80 to 100 hour weeks, making a ton of money while not being able to ever enjoy it, and just telling people that I have an amazing title and hoping that they will be impressed.  Not only would people be able to see right through me but I would feel hollow and empty with that kind of lifestyle.  There is nothing more inspiring than seeing people with true and genuine passion behind their eyes when they talk about their career and what they do.  I wish I saw more of it this past weekend at the reunion.  I may not have fulltime employment or have as much money as I would like but I have an idea of where I want to go and what I want to achieve in life to be happy and I have never been more sure of this path that I am on than I am right now.



  1. hey jon! so sad i missed the reunion but i am right there with you when it comes to realizing the balance of life! miss you and kudos to you for getting everyone (except me?) back together!


  2. I am totally with on regarding the balance of life. I don’t believe in superficial things like titles either. good for you! 🙂

    • Thanks Bookjunkie! I am definitely glad that we agree. I just think it is impossible to be happy if you focus too much attention on a singular aspect of your life…whatever it may be. It isn’t healthy. I haven’t quite achieved the balance I want yet but I’m a work in progress so I’ll let you know how it goes!

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