I finally made it to my 40th high school reunion after many months of indecision. I had prepared by arranging to go with a few friends so I would not enter the cafe alone; I had a plan to go outside and walk outside if I felt overwhelmed and I even contacted former classmates on FB before hand. Ok, I did change my outfits about a dozen times but that was more about warmth than fashion or nerves.
I had just arrived and hadn't even put my coat down when I heard someone ask me "what have you done with your life?"
I took a deep breath while my legs wobbled, and I felt hot and uncomfortable. Why hadn't I prepared for this obvious question?
Do I say flippantly "Do you want 40 years in 40 words, in 40 secs, or 40 mins (OK I realised this wasn't an option!)
If I knew who the person was asking me the question that would have made the reply easier, but I couldnt read the small font on her name tag and I didnt recognise her.
Do just go for the safe domestic details, children, where I live or do I talk about my shop?
Bipolar has been a major part of my last 40 years but do people want to hear that here or do I want to tell someone whose name I can't remember. Will I be known as that woman with bipolar. The silence seemed to last for hours but it was probably only a few seconds when I put on my happy face and chatted about my shop briefly then asked her about her life.
During the night, I probably used all of the answers above depending to whom I was speaking.
I know I think way too much and over-analyse conversations and social situations. In the past I have avoided reunions or large parties so I was pleased that I took a big step to attend the reunion. I was pleased I managed to chat to people and listen to the amazing variety of life stories other women told.
It made me think of how we respond to questions and how much or little we choose to reveal about ourselves in social situations.
When someone asks "What have you done since school?", or even "How are you?", what do you say next?
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