It’s hard to believe that more than a month has gone by since my 30th class reunion. What’s even harder to believe is that I didn’t write a blog post about it sooner. The event was wonderful in almost every way and I’ve thought a lot about it. I’m not sure I could properly summarize the evening because I only have my own personal experience of the event and my observations of other people having fun. There are the pictures on our class Facebook page and there are the conversations I’ve had with classmates since the reunion. As far as I can tell, it was a success.
Being involved in the planning and execution of such an event was right in my wheelhouse; I love planning anything that involves food, friends, laughter, and memories. As I look back over the last thirty years or so, it seems like I have always been knee-deep in planning something. Until October 27, 2012, I would have said that being the co-chair of a Junior League Decorator Show House in 2006 was my best effort in “event planning.” There were little things about that event, though, that made it extremely difficult for me and I was fortunate to have a tremendous co-chair who was able to pick up the ball and run with it every time I dropped it. Facebook hadn’t really blossomed in 2006, either.
Facebook ended up being an important tool in planning the reunion; every day, I would scan the old yearbooks and diaries and find some fun little nugget of information to share with our class via the event page. Other people would read it and some would comment on it. I began to remember a lot of things I had forgotten about people and I learned a lot of things about how my classmates had lived in the 30 years since we flipped our tassels and left Lisbon High School.
It was like finding the missing piece of a complicated puzzle.
I’m not sure who the first classmate was that exclaimed “Yay!” when we learned that a certain person was coming to the reunion, but the three-letter word became our “motto” and reminder that it was possible to overcome awkward adolescent memories of the past and enjoy the present.
We even had a sign.
After the reunion was over, we decided we had the best class ever and we wanted to make sure we stayed in touch. Facebook makes that easy. We’ve also had two “events” since the reunion and although the turnout has been smaller, they’ve been the steps we needed to keep the “Yay” alive. We continue to post pictures of our micro-events to remind people that the reunion is never going to end, even if they can’t be there in person.
I bring the sign.
Since it’s “the most wonderful time of the year” and people might be going to lots of parties in December, I thought I would share the five most important things I learned from my 30th Class Reunion, which was the best party I’ve ever attended. I hope these simple tips will help you to bring the “Yay!” to your own event.
Bring your best self
If you commit to attending a party, bring your best self. I’m not talking about clothes, shoes, and limousines; I’m talking about bringing the unmasked person your host or hostess love enough to include on their guest list. If you’re tired, take a nap before you go. If you’re having a bad day, do a few blood-curdling screams in the car and let it out before you get to your destination. It usually works for me.
Bring your own energy
Parties can be awkward; it’s a room full of people and even if you know them all, not everyone has the same “mingle DNA.” Some people are high energy and are able to draw other people into their charisma; other people are quiet and less talkative. Know which type of person you are and then “bring it” and enjoy it.
If you’re tired, it’s fine to go home
The excitement of a party can end “just like that” and deflate your energy balloon. Maybe it was a second piece of cake or dancing to a favorite song a little too energetically, but energy fades. It happened to me at around 10:00 p.m. at the best class reunion ever; I knew I didn’t have any gas left in the tank and so instead of being “stoopid” with fatigue, I went home and dreamed happily about the fun I’d had and not the fun I’d missed.
Wait until later to get a little tipsy
If you get tipsy later in the evening, there is less likelihood that someone with a sharp memory is going to remember every honest thing you might have said. There are fewer cameras after hours, too. In looking at all the pictures from my reunion, I can tell everyone still has their dignity on. Please also remember to bring a designated driver.
Bring your dancing shoes and keep them on your feet
Parties, unless they are formal seated dinner parties at Buckingham Palace, involve being on your feet. Sometimes parties involve dancing. Shoes for standing around and looking good might not be the same shoes for dancing your “Yay!” off. Although I brought what I thought was a good pair of flat dancing shoes to my class reunion, they were not good enough and they slowed me down. I had no choice but to kick them off and they went flying over a (thankfully) empty table; one of my big shoes came dangerously close to knocking a Bud Light bar bottle to the ground. Had that happened, I would have been mortified. I’m even a little mortified that I kicked my shoes off, but my classmates have not held it against me.
To prevent any further humiliation, I’m bringing some glittered-up Chuck Taylors to the next reunion.
Here’s to keeping the “Yay!” in your holidays!
All together now, friends: YAY!