Reunited: Does It Feel So Good?

Why do we torture ourselves with class reunions?

Ah, those wonderful days of high school.  The time in our lives that many of us wish we could erase unless we happened to be the popular girl or the sports jock.  If you were the nerd, the geek, the pimply one, the brain, or the loner (as I was), high school is an era that’s probably best left in the past.  After all, who wants to recall the pain of peer pressure, trying to fit in, avoiding the bullies, wanting a boyfriend or girlfriend, being scared to have a boyfriend or girlfriend, and on and on the list goes.

High school was such a painful time for me that I made a clean break of things with my graduation, the last time I’ve seen my former classmates in person.  I wanted to have a fresh start in college, grow as a person in my own right, and be welcomed by non-cliquish people.  Strangely, though, during my college years I immaturely fantasized about my 10th year high school reunion.  I imagined going with my graduate degrees, a great job as a college professor, and my handsome husband at my side.  As things turned out 10 years after graduating from high school, I had the graduate degrees but not the great job or husband, and I didn’t attend my reunion because I never got word that there even was one.

From what I’ve been reading on the Internet and seeing in movies like Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion, I’m not the only one who imagined showing people I grew up with (and didn’t really like) what a success I’ve become since high school.  Perhaps we think about our high school reunion as an event during which we’re finally accepted by our peers who have (we think) finally matured and are able to see our worthiness.  It’s also an occasion for us to reflect on ourselves and measure how far we’ve come in our lives, contemplating whether we’re content with the people we’ve turned into.

Although I haven’t attended an actual high school reunion, I feel like I’ve attended a virtual one through the power of Facebook.  My curiosity about my classmates–what they look like now, what they’re doing, whether they have families–has been satisfied, and any thought I had that people change over time has been eradicated.  Through friends lists, I can see that the same cliques still exist, which makes my stomach turn and prompts me to wonder how I ever could have anticipated a pending high school reunion with something akin to enthusiasm.  Sometimes we need to take off our rose-colored glasses and see things as they are in reality, grittiness included.  Why not simply focus on the here and now and make the present better than the past?

Why, indeed.


People Power

Why does positive energy from others help the sick?

Not too long ago, my mother had neurosurgery on her neck and spine.  It sounded scary and it was.  My mother isn’t one who normally panics about things, even big things, so when she openly admitted to me that she was scared of going through the surgery, I was worried.  I was so worried that I even asked my friends and other people I know to send my mother good vibes and to keep her in their thoughts.  One friend of mine, who’s deeply religious, even told me, “You can say the word, ‘pray.'”

Although I’m not a religious person, I do consider myself to be very spiritual.  I can’t really explain how, but it was comforting to know that other people were thinking about my mother and wishing her well.  Even more, I could sense that my mother, the skeptic who prides herself on being self-reliant, felt good knowing that other people were wishing her the best.

Maybe the power of positive energy, of good thoughts and wishes, is helpful to those who are sick because it gives solace and peace of mind to know that you’re not going through something alone.  And that positive energy can be viewed differently by different people.  To some, it’s the power of God, a Supreme Being, or a Life Force that intervenes and helps those in need.  To others familiar with New Age beliefs and holistic medicine, it’s the power of nature and the universe bestowing their healing properties.  Whatever your personal perspective, at the bottom of it all, it’s about people directing their positive energy toward someone who can use it.

Doctors can cut a person and fix him or her up, but healing and recovery is more than just about the physical.  There’s an element involved that goes beyond empirical evidence.  It’s not tangible and plays just as great a role in mending a person as medicine and chicken soup.  Positive energy and a good attitude help heal the body as well as the mind.  And we can direct positive energy to ourselves or to others in both times of sickness and health.  Why can’t we all promote some positive energy every so now and then?

Why, indeed.

And if you were wondering, the positive energy from everyone helped my mother–she’s recovering well after her surgery.


Shutdown Letdown

Why can’t we send American politicians back to kindergarten?

Unless you’ve been completely unplugged and off the grid for the past week, you’re probably aware that the almighty United States of America, a stronghold of democracy and one of the wealthiest nations in the world, if not the wealthiest, has shut down its government because politicians can’t agree on how to fund it.  Roughly 800,000 federal workers have been furloughed, and they don’t know when to expect their next paycheck.

I ponder over those wonderful politicians (not) working in the Senate and the House of Representatives in Washington, D.C.  I toured the nation’s capital several weeks ago with my husband during our honeymoon, and a few things stood out to me.  It’s very easy to pick out who’s who–government employees are attired in suits and dresses, tourists are dressed casually, and menial workers are clothed in uniforms.  The government buildings, such as the Capitol and the Library of Congress, are among the most beautiful and well maintained I’ve seen in this country and feel so far away from the nearby lower income neighborhoods.  There is a sense of self-importance among the government employees, even among those young unpaid interns who are all over the place and there only because of family connections.

Being in those beautiful buildings so far removed from the rest of ordinary society, the politicians can easily forget how the regular schmo lives.  They’re in their own little bubble on Capitol Hill with excellent cafeteria food prepared by experienced chefs, plenty of vacation time, great healthcare and benefits, and a paycheck that’s guaranteed, even when the government is shutdown.  I suppose it’s difficult for them not to turn into spoiled brats who are more concerned about themselves and their own egos rather than the people they’re supposed to serve, the people who elected them into their positions of privilege.

Most of us schmoes, including myself, have to go through job training that teaches how to conduct good customer service, not only with the people we serve but also with our co-workers.  We are told that we need to respect each other, to listen, and to compromise.  Aren’t these things learned in kindergarten?  Aren’t we taught to be nice to each other, even if we don’t like someone?  Aren’t we taught to listen to each other?  Aren’t we taught to reach an agreement with each other over toys and other things?  If you ask me, all politicians should go through required yearly training that reminds them to get along with each other and to compromise.  They need to re-learn the basics taught in kindergarten.  Why can’t politicians actually do their job and do right by their constituents?

Why, indeed.