Many people moan about their fear and loathing of high school reunions.
I’m not one of them.
I love reunions. I love seeing how people turn out. I love recognising the young girl within a woman. I love seeing how most of us are just the same as we were, just older, wiser, wearier and most often happier.
I love laughing about bad perms, blue eyeshadow, our 80s harem pants, the times we were busted eating chocolate cake in the out-of-bounds area and the detention we suffered as penance. I love the feeling that we are shared survivors of a period of bad fashion, a patchy education, puberty and life.
Then I went back to a reunion of my first high school - and I was snubbed big time.
I'd left that school in Year 10 because I was naughty. I'd been told it would be good if I turned over a new leaf, somewhere far, far away and while I didn't really want to leave my friends, especially my best friend, I saw the sense in it.
I wanted to emerge from my older sister's long shadow and grow up. So I moved to the only private school that would take me. My parents hoped their two-year investment would help me get my act together.
My best friend at my public school didn't want me to leave. She accused me of being a "snob". I vowed to her I wouldn't become one. In fact, the moment I got to that private ladies college I started swearing like a trooper and speaking with the most heavy Oztralyan accent I could, just to show her I wasn't a snob and to tell my parents while I would try and study, I'd never be a 'lady'.
But, from what I remember, after I left, my friend from the old school didn't want to hang out anymore. And I made new friends, loved my new school and moved on. She and my old mates became memories, part of my past and part of me.
When I was invited back to their reunion I went feeling rather nervous. Would they recognise and remember me? Would I recognise and remember them? This was their Year 12 reunion, so I felt like a bit of an imposter. Yet I knew from my other reunion that by the 30-year get together, people had moved on from being insecure, nervous and worried. They had settled into themselves, become unashamed and proud of who they were. They didn't talk popularity, or income, or career - they just laughed, hugged, remembered and celebrated survival, children and joy.
So I went.
There were many I didn't recognise. The years had changed us. Permed hair was straight. Baby faces were changed by life's hardships and thrills, and bodies had thickened. But I recognised by best friend of the past immediately - she still had the same long hair and curved mouth.
I waved across the room and she ignored me. 'Oh dear needs glasses' I thought.